Blacks and HIV/AIDS
There are about 12 HIV awareness days every year and they all have meaning to somebody for one reason or another. These awareness days are close to the hearts of so many. On February 7th, there will be an awareness day on HIV/AIDS for Blacks. I am a woman of color and, for me, living with HIV plays a big part in my life.
HIV awareness days that I recognize
Some others that I recognize are Woman and Girls HIV Awareness Day HIV, Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, National HIV/AIDS Aging Awareness Day (because I am now aging with HIV), National Transgender HIV Testing Day, and National HIV Testing Day. After all, we have to keep letting people know how important it is to get tested. Word AIDS Day is also on December 1st. There are 36.7 million people that are living with HIV and we must all join together.
HIV diagnosis statistics on Black Americans
There are 1.1 million people who are living with HIV in the United States and Blacks have the highest rate of HIV diagnosis at 42 percent. That is almost half of the 37,832 diagnoses and we only make up 13 percent of the population size.1 Black gay men account for 9,499 cases, Black women at 3,768, and Black heterosexual men at 1,678.1 But for me, I think the rate of diagnosis in heterosexual men to be significantly higher and this is because there are physicians who categorize them as being gay even when they say they are not.
The importance of National Black HIV Awareness Day
The National Black HIV Awareness Day is a day that comes yearly so that we can assist in stopping HIV in Blacks. We do that by offering them to get tested, to get treatment, and allowing the chance to reduce HIV transmission in our communities by educating people who need the information.
Why is there a high rate of HIV diagnosis in the Black community?
In 1981, there was only one case of HIV/AIDS in Blacks. By 1982, the numbers grew to 86 being diagnosed and, by 1990, the rate of HIV/AIDS was higher than our white counterparts.3 I feel that because our community doesn’t want to talk about HIV or even address it, it put us at a higher risk. There are so many other reasons that come with this like incarceration, health insurance, housing issues, people being homeless, not having the resources in the community to get care or tested at all. And, there is poverty in the black community to consider as well.
How can we be faced with so many things and still be able to think about our health or HIV, for that matter? When any group of people are being ignored because of the way they live, the color of their skin, and shied away, then what more can be done to help us? That is the question! How much louder do we need to shout?
Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?