» Letter to the Editor
by Henderson Hill III, Director of the african american cultural center

HIV/AIDS is a crisis out of control in black communities throughout the United States. The continued severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities cannot be underestimated.

Our challenge in 2012 is to stem the tide and save the lives of black people locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

For almost 12 years now, Feb. 7 has been designated as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. NBHAAD is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative.

It is designed to encourage Blacks across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, tested, treated and involved with HIV/AIDS, as it continues to devastate Black communities.

Currently, NBHAAD is directed, planned and organized by the National Planning Council who partners local, regional and national stakeholders to mobilize communities and address specific issues in regards to local epidemics and best practices that will influence the course of HIV in black communities across the country.

Healthy Black Communities, Inc. serves as the NBHAAD Chairperson and organization responsible for coordinating communications, material development and dissemination and brand maintenance.

Public figures such as President Barack Obama (during his time as Illinois Senator), Congressman Elijah E. Cummings; Tony Dungy; Idris Elba; Kimberly Elise; Lance Gross; Hill Harper; Taraji P. Henson; Tom Joyner; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Ludacris; Master P; Tangi Miller; Patrik-Ian Polk; General Colin Powell; Sheryl Lee Ralph; Gloria Reuben; Romeo; Rev. Edwin Sanders; Tavis Smiley; and Congresswoman Maxine Waters have all contributed their advocacy as spokespersons to this effort.

For 2012, we are mobilizing communities to be the voice and face. The theme for 2012 is Changing the Course of HIV/AIDS, 1 Black Life at a Time! with the intentions of ensuring we as Black people unite and take care of one another.

We are asking Black community stakeholders concerned about HIV/AIDS in their community to become the voice for change by submitting a mini-video through the website centered on one or all four of the objectives of NBHAAD – education, testing, involvement and/or treatment.

All people, regardless of lifestyle or HIV status, can and should get involved with developing and sharing an HIV/AIDS message to their families and communities.

The APSU Wilbur N. Daniel African-American Cultural Center, in conjunction with Nashville CARES, will be providing free HIV/AIDS testing to all APSU students from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center (Clement 120). There will be free food for those who get tested and awareness lapel pins.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2012: Get educated! Get tested! Get involved! Get treated!

For information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, log onto www.blackaidsday.org. TAS