WASHINGTON - Each year since 2007, Howard University College of Medicine has joined with clinicians nationwide to observe National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing & Awareness Day on July 21. The health awareness day is the brainchild of Goulda Downer, Ph.D., Howard University professor and principal investigator and project director for the federally funded National HIV Integration Project.
The day is set aside to encourage clinicians nationwide to sharpen their HIV knowledge and skills and concomitantly reduce provider stigma in an effort to end the epidemic. HIV remains a stubborn presence, especially in underserved communities and among the African-American community. Health disasters, such as the raging COVID-19 epidemic, further exacerbates the impact of HIV.
“Physicians and other clinicians are trusted community leaders,” Downer said. “They are well positioned to be powerful advocates of HIV testing, treatment and care. They are the hub, the center piece, supporting the spokes of the wheel of HIV care.”
This year, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a leading congressional advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment, introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives in honor the National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day.
Downer said the National Medical Association (NMA) will now lead the effort to champion July 21 as National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing & Awareness Day and continue to ensure that it is acknowledged annually, taking the baton from Howard University. NMA is the largest and oldest national organization representing African-American physicians and their patients in the United States. It is the collective voice of African-American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine.
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About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.