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Notice to Readers: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, February 7, 2004

The fourth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is February 7, 2004. The day is designed to raise awareness among blacks of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The goal of this national event, which is supported by CDC and sponsored by a coalition of nongovernment organizations, is to mobilize blacks to become educated, get tested, and become involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

As of December 31, 2002, approximately 185,000 blacks in the United States had died of AIDS (1). AIDS is a leading cause of death among black women aged 25--44 years and among black men aged 25--54 years (2). Black men are nearly nine times more likely than white men to have AIDS, and black women are 23 times more likely than white women to have AIDS (1). In 2002, blacks were approximately 12% of the U.S. population but accounted for >50% of all new HIV diagnoses (1).

Testing and prevention remain key to stopping the spread of HIV, and being tested is an essential first step for persons to obtain treatment and take steps to protect their partners from infection. The new rapid HIV test, which gives preliminary results in approximately 20 minutes, is widely available. However, blacks are more likely than whites to test late in their illness, when life-extending antiretroviral treatments might no longer be as effective (3).

Additional information about HIV/AIDS is available from CDC, telephone 404-342-2437, and at and Additional information about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is available at


  1. CDC. HIV/AIDS surveillance report: cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States, 2002. Available at
  2. CDC. National Center for Health Statistics. Deaths: leading causes for 2001. National Vital Statistics Report; vol. 52, no. 9. Hyattsville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, 2003.
  3. CDC. Late versus early testing of HIV---16 sites, United States, 2000--2003. MMWR 2003;52:581--6.

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