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Article posted: 1/30/2014 10:07 AM

Lake County Health Department hosts National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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By Lake County Health Department submission

The public is invited to join the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center for the 14th annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Friday, Feb. 7.

A free event will take place in the lobby of the health department's Belvidere Medical Building, 2400 Belvidere Road in Waukegan, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Staff will provide information, screenings and education about transmission, care and treatment of HIV. Information about hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections will also be available.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a national HIV/AIDS testing and treatment community mobilization effort designed to encourage the African-American community to get educated, tested, treated, and involved with HIV/AIDS, as it continues to impact communities.

It is an opportunity for the health department to increase HIV prevention activities, such as HIV testing, and to link individuals living with HIV to effective medical care.

Compared to other races and ethnicities, African-Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease -- from new infections to deaths.

In 2010, African-Americans comprised 14 percent of the United States population, but accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections.

Young African-American gay and bisexual men are especially at risk of HIV infection. More new HIV infections occurred among young black men who have sex with men (ages 13-29) than any other age and racial group.

Most African-American women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is organized by Healthy Black Communities, Inc., an international community based organization focused on health education and disease prevention in black communities.

For more information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, visit www.blackaidsday.org.

The health department's STI Program, 2400 Belvidere Road in Waukegan, offers many services, including counseling, education, free and confidential HIV testing, educational based support/talk groups, and outreach.

For information or to make an appointment, call (847) 377-8450 or visit http://health.lakecountyil.gov/Population/Pages/Sexually-Transmitted-InfectionHIV-Prevention. aspx.

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