RaceSex & Gender

#worldaidsday2018: what you need to know

December 1, 2018
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HIV is a disease that discriminates against no one. And until the eventual eradication of HIV, it’s as important as ever for us in the Black community to remain vigilant about educating yourself, knowing our status, and ending the stigma and shame of HIV/AIDs.

HIV disproportionately affects some communities more than others. Despite making about around 12% of the United States population, Black Americans made up 44% of HIV diagnoses in 2016. Specifically, the Black LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately diagnosed with HIV compared to its heterosexual and white counterparts. According to the CDC, more than half go the 17,528 Black Americans to received HIV diagnosis in the United States (12,890 men and 4,560 women), more than half (10,223) were gay or bisexual men. And among those, 39% (3,993) were young men aged 25 to 34.

For Black women, HIV remains to be an issue that affects us at higher rates than our white and Latinx counterparts, with 4,560 Black American receiving a positive diagnosis in 2016 compared to 1,450 white women and 1,168 Latinx women.

Why are Black folks more likely to receive an HIV diagnosis than their white counterparts?

According to the CDC:
• A higher percentage of African Americans are living with HIV compared to other races/ethnicities. Because African Americans tend to have sex partners of the same race, they have a greater chance of coming in contact with HIV.
• Some African American communities continue to experience higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) when compared to other races/ ethnicities. Having another STD can significantly increase a person’s chance of getting or transmitting HIV.
• Around 74,000 African Americans do not know their HIV status. People who do not know they have HIV cannot get the treatment they need and may pass the infection to others without knowing it.
• Limited access to quality health care, lower income and educational levels, and higher rates of unemployment may place some African Americans at higher risk for HIV.
• Stigma, fear, discrimination, and homophobia may also place many African Americans at higher risk for HIV.

So, what does that mean for us going forward?

That today is a day to show solidarity with those living with and affected by HIV/AIDs and there are many brilliant ways to do so. Across the globe, organizations like World AIDs Day affiliate the National AIDs Trust (NAT) are raising money for the cause and you can donate to them directly. And a day for educational refreshers and status awareness, which must become priorities for our sexually active young people and drug users. Even if you think you know everything there is to learn about HIV safety, take some time to seek out information on protecting yourself and those you care about.