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2:26 AM / Thursday February 27, 2020

13 Feb 2016

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day observed at Capitol

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February 13, 2016 Category: Health Posted by:

HARRISBURG– State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, commended the lawmakers and health-care leaders who came together at the state Capitol to highlight National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which was observed Feb. 7.

Wheatley explained that the purpose of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to build the capacity and increase awareness, participation and support for HIV prevention, care and treatment among African-Americans.

“Even though African-Americans comprise about 14 percent of the United States population, almost one-half of the estimated new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the United States in 2010 were for African-Americans,” Wheatley said. “Prevention is important, and we need people around the state to raise awareness of this problem.”

At today’s event, state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., said he plans to introduce two bills that would help prevent the spread of HIV by requiring private insurance companies to cover Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) HIV medication.

“Low-income and minority Pennsylvanians are at much higher risk of contracting HIV, in large part because they lack access to these life-saving treatments,” Sims said. “Covering these preventive tools would save lives, reduce suffering and even save money in the long run for taxpayers and insurers.”

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Pennsylvania Physical General Rachel Levine and Dr. Albertha Graham-Ellison, vice president and program director of Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS Inc., also spoke about the HIV/AIDS crisis and the need for people to get tested.

In Pennsylvania, information on HIV and AIDS and confidential HIV testing sites is available from the state’s AIDS fact line – 1-800-662-6080. State and national information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and the impact of HIV and AIDS on African-Americans is available at www.blackaidsday.org.

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