Ashley Kraybill, MPH
Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellow
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Madison, WI

Hester Simons, MPH
Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellow
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Centro Hispano of Dane County 
Madison, W

 On February 7, 2016, we observed the 16th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a national initiative aimed at mobilizing communities around HIV testing and treatment in response to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in African American communities. Many organizations and people who participated on this day work every day to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among black communities. As Population Health Service Fellows, we have learned about various initiatives around Wisconsin that aim to address these issues.

But, why is this so important?

National Data[1]
·       African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV.
·       The rate of new HIV infection in African Americans is 8 times that of whites based on population size.
·       Gay and bisexual men account for most new infections among African Americans; young gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 are the most affected of this group.

Wisconsin Data (2014)[2]
Of the 226 new cases of HIV infection diagnosed in Wisconsin during 2014:

Reflecting national trends, young Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in Wisconsin continue to be the population most affected by HIV in Wisconsin. During 2014:
  • Young Black MSM accounted for almost one-quarter (22%) of all new diagnoses in Wisconsin.
  • Diagnoses in young Black MSM more than doubled from 2005 to 2014.

 City of Milwaukee Data (2014)[3]
  • Milwaukee is disproportionately affected by HIV, as it makes up just 10% of the state’s population yet has 53% of all statewide HIV diagnoses.

  • 2 in 5 Black MSM in Milwaukee are living with HIV

  • Reflecting national trends, young black MSM in Milwaukee continue to be the population most affected by HIV. One-third of new HIV diagnoses in Milwaukee occurred in Black MSM ages 13-29.

When considering health outcomes data, especially disparities data, it is important to consider the context in which people live. 
  • Wisconsin ranks last in the country in the overall well-being of Black children based on  an index of 12 measures that gauge a child's success from birth to adulthood.[4]
  • Milwaukee is the most racially segregated large city in the United States.[5](see map below) 
  •  While the infant mortality rate has dropped in Milwaukee in recent years, it remains among the highest of the nation’s big cities.[6]  The infant mortality rate is commonly accepted as a measure of the general health and well-being of a population.[7]     
  •  4 in 10 Blacks in Milwaukee live in poverty, compared to 1 in 3 Hispanics and 1 in 7 Whites.[8]  
  •  45% of Black adults have completed some college or more education, compared to 29% of Hispanics and 64% of Whites.[8]