PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 31, 2013 — The facts around HIV/AIDS and African Americans still aren’t permeating the community, despite the fact that blacks in the United States make up 44 percent of the nation’s HIV cases but only 14 percent of the total U.S. population. In this city, the figures are scarier.

To raise awareness about the importance of learning more about this disease, state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., will host a National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. at Kingsessing Recreation Center, 4901 Kingsessing Ave. in Philadelphia.

Information, confidential testing and free pizza will be provided to participants.

According to city health statistics, nearly seven in 10 new HIV/AIDS infections are contracted by African Americans. The 19143 zip code, in the 8th District, is one of the hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in the city.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that close to one in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV in his lifetime; for black women, it’s one in 32. For black women locally, heterosexual contact remains the lead cause of infection; for black men, both heterosexual and male-to-male sexual contact are lead causes of infection.

“This horrific disease stands to decimate the African-American community, but it doesn’t have to, not if we take charge by getting involved, getting educated and getting tested,” said Williams (D-Phila./Delaware). “That’s what this event is about. We cannot let fear or stigma stop us from knowing our status and acting proactively with that knowledge.

“Knowledge is power, so come out and empower yourself,” he added. “Get the information you need about HIV/AIDS. Get tested – it’s free. And bring a friend. You just might save a life – yours.”

For details, contact Desaree Jones at (215) 492-2980.