Wednesday, September 9, is National African Immigrant and Refugee HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Awareness (NAIRHHA) Day 2020. Launched in 2014 by advocates in Massachusetts, New York and Washington, DC, the event aims to draw attention to the fact that HIV and hepatitis B are more prevalent among African-born people living in the United States. Another goal is to fight the stigma, language and cultural barriers that contribute to high rates of both viruses.
As the organizers explain on their Facebook page, “The purpose of NAIRHHA Day is to bring national and local attention to the HIV and viral hepatitis needs of African immigrants living in the U.S. in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. The creation of a national awareness day will also support the eradication of other epidemics fueling or related to HIV disparities among African immigrants, including tuberculosis, substance use and mental health.”
The Facebook page also includes links to a social media tool kit you can download, featuring images you can share on social media to raise awareness.
We need you to join the NAIRHHA Day movement! It’s simple. Get the 2020 Social Media toolkit:…
Organizers urge you to “share info on NAIRHHA Day with your given communities (i.e. other community organizations, health educators, family, friends etc.) in hopes of officially establishing NAIRHHA Day as a federally recognized day in the U.S. and beyond!”
According to NAIRHHA Day information on the Hepatitis B Foundation’s blog, HIV diagnosis rates among this immigrant population group are as much as six times those of the general U.S. population. What’s more, between 5% and 18% of African immigrant and refugee communities are estimated to be living with hepatitis B, so there is a need for testing and awareness of both viruses.
Currently, there is no cure for either virus (though there is a vaccine that protects against hep B), but treatments can keep them from progressing.