National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we reflect on the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead in ending the epidemic nationally and around the globe.

In 2017, HIV/AIDS has and continues to disproportionately affect Black and African-American communities – black cis women, trans women, and men who have sex with men (MSM).  Despite the fact that Black MSM report higher than average rates of HIV testing, they still have a 1 in 2 lifetime chance of contracting HIV.  These numbers are staggering and this inequity is unconscionable.

Some citings of these numbers place tacit blame on the behaviors of Black gay men that have been proven to be no more risky than those of their white gay male counterparts. We too rarely take the time to highlight and focus on the successes and skills of Black gay men in the face of HIV – instead, these statistics are often viewed as failures.

Today, our aim is to educate and inform of the importance of regular testing, biomedical interventions like PEP and PrEP, and treatment as prevention. We also recognize everyone who has been affected by the HIV virus. With the newest tool of PrEP that has shown so much promise in practice, we must examine and improve our efforts to make our community aware that there is now a treatment to help reduce your risk of HIV. Additionally, access to life-saving medications and health care for people living with HIV is also paramount.

We know that HIV and AIDS are not experiences that exist in a silo. They go hand in hand with the need for housing, employment, freedom from state violence and criminalization, and ending racism, transphobia, misogyny, and homophobia. We continue to be inspired by the incredible efforts of international, national, state, and grassroots Black leaders to change the course of this epidemic. We state unequivocally that Black lives matter. We aim for a day in our near future when we can say National Black HIV Awareness Day is a day of remembrance, and not awareness.

For more information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, click here: