Lauren Steele, age 11, performed at Concordia University during A6 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Talent Showcase auditions
Black American leaders and organizations of Portland will respond to the impact of HIV and AIDS in the city's African American communities in the seventh annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7.
In commemoration of the event, the African American AIDS Awareness Action Alliance hosts an African American/Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Talent Showcase at Concordia College on Feb.7 at 1 pm in Luther Hall.
This is a free event featuring live performances and an awards ceremony of contest winners, plus lectures by community members and activists about the plight of HIV/AIDS in the African American community and what we can do here in the Portland area to make a difference.
Almost two-thirds of those diagnosed with HIV in Oregon live in Multnomah County.
African Americans make up approximately 13 percent of the population of the United States, yet half of the total AIDS cases reported in this country is among members of the Black community. In 2007, HIV/AIDS was one of the top ten leading causes of death for African Americans in the United States.
Portland is one of more than 800 cities across the U.S. that will sponsor programs to commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
National HIV Testing Day is observed annually on June 27. In 2008 A6 hosted a hip-hop party for adults that was fun and informational, providing free HIV and STD testing during the event, promoted healthy sexual behaviors and gave out free condoms to those in attendance.
In 2009 the group joins with the National Test 1 Million campaign, whose goals are to test 1 million African Americans by June of 2010. Studies show that over half of those infected with HIV have not been tested and do not know that they are infected.
World AIDS Day has been celebrated on Dec. 1 for the past 25 years. In 2008 A6 and Empowerment Through Education, a youth peer educator group dedicated to raising awareness and promoting healthy sexual behaviors around HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among young African Americans in the Portland area, hosted a double workshop.
One workshop trained adults on how to throw house parties that promoted healthy sexual behaviors while the other workshop focused on educating teens about HIV and STD's and how they disproportionately affect our community.
The African American AIDS Awareness Action Alliance (also known as the A6) is a coalition of service providers that collectively work to reduce new rates of infections in the African Americans/Black community.
Current members of the Alliance include: Africa House, Unity Project of Oregon/Brother to Brother, Ethos Music Program, Inc., Cascade AIDS Project, Portland Chapter of The LINKS, Inc., Multnomah County Health Department, Clark County Public Health, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette, Partnership Project, Self Enhancement Incorporated, Urban League of Portland, The White Rose Fund, Inc., and the Oregon HIV Prevention Program.
For more information or to become involved in A6 activities, call Khalil Edwards 503-935 1666, or go to www.knowsexpdx.com/getinvolved.html, or www.myspace.com/a6pdx.