Good news and bad news, in combating HIV and AIDS in Wisconsin's African-American community. First the good news: State Health Officer, Doctor Seth Foldy, says the rate of HIV infection among the state's black population has been decreasing steadily. "The most important message is that we are making progress in reducing the numbers infected with HIV in Wisconsin, including the numbers of black people who are infected," says Foldy.
And while progress is being made, there's persistent bad news as well. African Americans are six percent of Wisconsin's population, but represent 39 percent of new HIV infections in the last year," Foldy says. African American women are fifteen times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than women of other races. The annual number of reported HIV cases in metro Milwaukee among young Black men who have sex with men nearly tripled between 2000 and 2008. Today is Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Wisconsin.
"People of all colors who are sexually active, should get themselves tested," says Foldy. "If they test positive, they can get treatment, and reduce their risk to others. And if you test negative, you're all fired up to stay negative."