World Aids Day - Rappers Fight To Educate Fans; Testing Numbers Up

For the past several years, Hip-Hop artists across the country have held events that encouraged safe sex and the importance of continuously being tested for HIV/AIDS. Artists like Plies, Twista, Yung Problemz, Yung L.A., Keith Murray, Ludacris, Jamie Foxx, Bun B., Gorilla Zoe, Common and countless others have campaigned in the Hip-Hop community to help stop the spread of the deadly disease amongst teenagers and young adults. The rapper's have used many tactics, including giving away free tickets to concerts to encourage testing, created PSA's, and viral campaigns on social networks to get their fans tested for HIV/AIDS.The Center for Disease Control provided with recent stats on the eve of World Aids Day, which takes place annually on December 1st. According to the CDC, the number of adults tested for HIV reached a record high in 2009. Last year 82.9 million adults between the ages of 18-64 reported getting tested for HIV. That's a total increase of 11.4 million people since 2006, when the CDC recommended that HIV testing become a routine part of medical care for young people and adults. “Today’s news shows that we have had progress increasing testing, and that more progress is both necessary and possible,” said Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., CDC director. “With most adults and with nearly a third of high-risk people having never been tested for HIV, we need to do more to ensure that all Americans have access to voluntary, routine and early HIV testing in order to save lives and reduce the spread of this terrible disease.”“HIV isn’t his problem or her problem. It’s all of our problem,” said Ludacris, who headed up the "I Know" HIV/AIDS Awareness campaign with the CDC earlier this year. “The facts are clear. African-Americans, especially young people are being devastated by HIV and AIDS," Ludacris said. "But there is something we can all do about it. We can and must talk about HIV. So break the silence by having a conversation. Send a text. Update your status. Post this video. Talk about HIV and what we can do to prevent it.”More information from the CDC is below: The December Vital Signs report indicates that the percentage of adults who had been tested at least once in their lives increased to 45 percent in 2009, after holding steady at approximately 40 percent from 2001 to 2006. CDC estimates that 1.1 million adults are living with HIV and that as many as one in five of these individuals (approximately 200,000 Americans) does not know that they are infected. Reducing the number of undiagnosed infections is a critical component of HIV prevention, as most sexually transmitted HIV infections in the United States are transmitted by people who are unaware of their infection. Research shows that once people learn they are infected, most take steps to protect their partners. Furthermore, people who are diagnosed earlier have longer life expectancies because they can benefit from HIV care and treatment. The Vital Signs report also highlights surveillance data showing that many people with HIV are diagnosed too late in their infection to take full advantage of effective treatment options and protect their partners from infection. In the 37 states with long-standing, confidential, name-based HIV reporting systems, 32 percent of people diagnosed with HIV in 2007 progressed to AIDS within 12 months, indicating a late diagnosis and missed opportunities for treatment. CDC is working with health care providers and state and local public health agencies to continue increasing access to routine HIV testing during medical visits, while also expanding community-based HIV testing programs that reach people outside of health care settings. This summer, the White House announced the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which includes the goal of increasing the proportion of HIV-infected individuals who are aware of their HIV status to 90 percent. Consistent with this goal, in 2010 CDC provided $60 million to support HIV testing efforts in 30 of America’s jurisdictions most heavily impacted by HIV. The funding allows CDC and its partners to expand a successful three-year initiative to increase access to HIV testing among African-Americans, Latinos, men who have sex with men, and injection drug users. For more information on HIV testing and prevention, visit or