African Americans account for almost half of all new HIV infections and nearly half of Americans living with the virus, even though they make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, according to a statement released by Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and reported on by Reuters. Fauci pointed out that in Washington, DC, alone, one in 20 African Americans has HIV while one in 50 has AIDS.

The statement was released on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, February 7.

“To win the battle against HIV, it is crucial that African Americans—and indeed, all Americans—get tested for the virus during routine medical care, as the CDC and the American College of Physicians recommend,” Fauci said, adding that NIAID is conducting HIV/AIDS research to specifically benefit African Americans.

Though he noted that treatment isn’t a substitute for prevention, Fauci underscored that early treatment has advantages for the person living with the virus as well as their partners and the community.