By: Leah Uko
OMAHA (KPTM) - HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases do not discriminate. That was the message at an open forum in north Omaha Friday in honor of "National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day".
The Charles Drew Health Center performed free HIV tests on anyone interested at the Malcolm X Foundation and Visitor Center.
Douglas County Health Department released new statistics that show 54 new HIV positive cases in the county for 2013.
Of the 54 people infected, five of them were ages 13 to 19, 17 of them were ages 20 to 29, 11 of them were ages 30 to 39, nine of them were ages 40 to 49 and 12 of those infected were 50 years old or older.
According to those latest statistics, Blacks, who make up 11.6 percent of the Douglas County population, continue to experience the most severe burden of HIV.
Of the 54 cases in 2013, Blacks made up 40 percent of the people infected. Whites made up 45 percent. Hispanics made up approximately 12 percent.
While Whites had a higher percentage, they make up 73.6 percent of Douglas County's population, whereas Blacks make up 11.6 percent.
Vice President of Heartland Pride, Dominique Morgan said he hoped the statistics would educate people about how any race, age or gender is vulnerable to HIV.
"You can't say it's a Black issue when you can look around and there's a lot of people who date outside their race, there's a lot of children of mixed races that are being born," Morgan continued. "Clearly we're not just having sex with ourselves."
Many who are infected with HIV do not know their status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others.
To get tested for HIV or STDs visit http://www.stdomaha.com/hiv-testing.