The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), based in Silver Spring, launched the National HIV Testing Day more than 15 years ago. Now it is introducing a new annual effort with the first National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Slated to launch Saturday, Sept. 27, the organization describes the effort as a way to bring ''urgent attention'' to the epidemic.
''It is a call to action that comes at a time of heightened complacency -- leading to a resurgence of new HIV infections among gay men,'' NAPWA stated in a release.
''Throughout the year, community based organizations, health departments, faith-based organizations, corporations, labor organizations, elected officials and other individual and collective stakeholders participate in national HIV/AIDS awareness days. These days raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and often focus attention on communities or groups that are disproportionately impacted by the epidemic.''
According to the NAPWA release, citing data from a Center for Disease Control and Preventions' 2006 report, 53 percent of new HIV infections occur among gay men. NAPWA hopes to reduce the spread of HIV by raising awareness, promoting testing and preventative measures among gay men, and other efforts.
''In 2008, we simply seek to announce the initiative and begin to garner creative ideas and community support to end the epidemic among gay men. Over the course of the next year, NAPWA will establish a national steering committee to plan for expanded activities and broad based national participation in September 2009.''
For more information, visit www.napwa.org.