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A conversation with the Damien Center on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Damien Center NBHAAD.png
Posted at 11:17 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 09:18:12-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD).

NBHAAD was first observed in 1999.

Indianapolis nonprofit Damien Center is speaking out about its importance.

The organization is Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization.

WRTV sat down with Outreach Manager Robert Kellman on Tuesday, who says although we’ve made great strides with prevention, people are still newly diagnosed with HIV every day.

“We really need visibility. We need people to talk about HIV. We don’t wanna sweep it under the rug. even though some people think it’s not as prevalent as it once was, we’re still affected by it," Kellman said.

Right now, HIV is a chronic condition that can be managed with daily medication, rather than the death sentence it once was.

In Indianapolis, HIV and Hepatitis C are manifesting in IV drug users.

HIV disproportionately affects the black community in Indy and nationwide.

Kellman says Indianapolis is seeing a rise in HIV cases for black women.

“Historically, I don’t think we’ve been a priority in HIV prevention and care when it comes to the U.S. Now we’re getting funding and people are paying attention to the Black community and knowing that we need the resources and the information in order to protect ourselves, educate ourselves to help end the epidemic," Kellman said.

One of the ways to stop the spread is through preventative measures.

That can look like wearing a condom or taking PrEP or PEP — medicines you can take before or after exposure to prevent HIV.

For more information on resources available to you, click here.

RELATED: House Bill 1198 would get rid of criminal enhancements for people living with HIV | Drug Repository programs could be coming to Indiana