We are delighted to announce that legendary entertainer, Dionne Warwick, has partnered with ACRIA to increase public awareness about the devastating impact of HIV on people over 50, especially African American women. Her public service announcements (PSAs) bring a new and important focus on women and HIV, the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and older adults and HIV.
Ms. Warwick has been a leader in the fight against HIV for 30 years and was among the first celebrities to publicly announce her support for efforts to combat the disease. Her PSAs for ACRIAcoincide with Women's History Month and the annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
"Through the release of these PSAs, I am honored to join forces with ACRIA and thousands of fellow AIDS activists across the country who are renewing efforts to raise awareness, develop public policies, and target funding to support HIV prevention, treatment and care," said Ms. Warwick. "Despite great progress in scientific research and prevention, HIV continues to exact a heavy toll on communities of color, including adults over the age of 50 and African American women, who are too often forgotten in this epidemic."
"We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Warwick as ACRIA's Goodwill Ambassador and recognize her steadfast leadership in the fight against HIV," said Benjamin Bashein, Executive Director. "Ms. Warwick embraced HIV/AIDS activism at a time when stigma against the disease was at its worst, when most public figures refused to associate their names and celebrity with the cause. We are truly excited about her participation in our work to educate millions of Americans, anew, about HIV, and by so doing, prevent its transmission."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2 million Americans are estimated to be living with HIV as of 2015, and 50% are estimated to be over the age of 50. By 2020, that number will rise to 70%. Although many older adults do not believe that they are susceptible to HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection, one in six new cases of HIV infection occurs in people over 50 years old. Older adults are also less likely to get tested for HIV.
In addition, women account for almost 20% of the estimated 45,000 new HIV infections that occur each year in the U.S. Among all women diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 62% were African American women.