LARGO, MD – As part of its ongoing effort to help educate the African American community about the importance of knowing their HIV status, and to commemorate the 2023 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Prince George's County Health Department has collaborated with DC Health and the Montgomery County Health Department to host a six-episode podcast called Positive Voices. The podcast amplifies the voices of community members living with HIV, giving them space to share their life experiences, discuss resources, and encourage people living with HIV to engage in care and treatment.

This year’s theme for National Black HIV/Awareness Day is “Together...We Can Make HIV Black History!” This theme aims to encourage strategic efforts in African American communities to end the HIV epidemic by enhancing HIV awareness across various sectors, discussing HIV stigma across sectors that serve or impact African American communities, and providing insight into social nuances, resources, and gaps that impact community HIV testing, treatment, and prevention.

The HIV epidemic continues to disproportionately affect the African American community nationwide and in Prince George’s County. According to the latest data, Black/African Americans represent 64.1% of County residents and comprise 82.7% of residents living with HIV in the County.

“We are making progress in the HIV/AIDS fight in Prince George’s County,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services, and Education and Acting Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Sanmi Areola. “The number of new cases each year has been dropping and more people than ever are getting treated early, which helps suppress their viral load and increases their chances of living longer. Getting into early treatment also greatly reduces the chance the virus is spread to someone else. However, we continue to see African Americans, especially young African American men who have sex with men, accounting for the majority of HIV diagnoses in our region and nationwide. We need to continue encouraging safer sex practices (which includes PrEP), regular HIV testing, and addressing health equity and socioeconomic factors that impact the overall health and welfare of the African American community.”

In addition to the County’s periodic free HIV testing community events, the Health Department offers free, year-round testing and treatment at two of its clinics five days a week through the HIV/AIDS Program (HAP). HIV testing and treatment are also available at four school-based wellness centers as well as for teens and young adults at the Maternal and Child Health Center at Laurel.

For additional information about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day activities, call 301-583-3170 or 301-583-3700.