An Ounce of Prevention

Image and video hosting by TinyPicNot to sound like an mp3 set on repeat, but the HIV/AIDS situation in Black America is out of control, and we each need to do our part to stem the tide. There, I said it. “You’re preaching to the choir,” you might yell at me, hoping I’ll stop telling well-traveled, well-educated, (obviously) well-read Black women what they need to do to prevent infection. But I’d tell you to “Pipe down in the cheap seats.” When 1 in every 30 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV in her lifetime, somebody didn’t read the damn memo.
Let me out that into perspective: I’m on a line (OO-OOP!) with 42 other amazing, lovely, talented, intelligent Black women, but according to this stat, one of us will trust the man who is/was doing the other chick/the other man/the illicit drug, skip the condom “just once” and end up with something we just can’t shake.
Why the seemingly-out-of-the-blue rant? I went to an interesting panel a couple weeks ago presented by TheLoop21 and ICED Media that focused on the affects of this epidemic on the Black community, and I got so upset I had to share. I think many of us think of HIV as a disease of the 80s or the 90s, or a gay disease, but it’s still alive and kicking ass. Don’t get it twisted, Magic might still look good, but in ’06 (the latest year for which stats are available), AIDS was THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH for Black women ages 25 to 34. In fact, 64% of women in American living with HIV/AIDS are Black. Add to that the fact that 1 in every 5 people with HIV in the US has no idea they are infected; so while you’re thinking, “He looks clean,” and he’s thinking “I am clean,” you both could be dead wrong.

That’s unacceptable. I’m not going to recite the rest of the statistics again, or show you how to put a condom on an unwilling banana, but I am going to ask you to take care of yourself, because no one can be more responsible for your health and well-being than you. To that end, June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. I’ve gotten tested every single year since I was 18—not because I take stupid risks, but because I value my life. Join me, and take advantage of the plentiful testing sites that will be set up nationwide. Find a free (anonymous) one near you here.

Have you been tested recently? Ever had a scary close call? Tell us about it and inspire others to handle their business.


Last 5 posts by kenrya

  • Eddie

    If we keep creating a dialogue about HIV in our community it will remove some of the stigma.

  • Thanks for the much needed wake up call!! It’s crazy that people are still out here going raw all it takes is one time!! Great piece!

  • Van

    I have two stories for you. I am in my 40s now and I can remember over 15 years ago when the younger sister of one of my girlfriends died from the disease, she was only 24. Because she trusted her man (she got it from him), she did not live very long and left a child behind for her family to raise.

    Next is a story of a neighbor of mine who died many years ago because she contracted HIV from her husband. She was a very, very nice and soft spoken person, she had wonderful parents, who fell apart after her death. She had the beginnings of a great career. The sad part about it is that he was still walking around after she was gone!!

    It is a shame that this epidemic has been in existence for a few decades and women, especially Black and other minority women, are not taking control of our lives.

    It is definitely time for us to rekindle this topic. Thanks Sis!

  • Angie

    Great article! Im appauled at sex being put out there like its a Sunday Buffet, especially with the younger generation (16-25yrs). We need to wake up! The reality shows don’t help either. Seems like anything goes which sends a terrible message of approval to society.

  • Lauren

    Thank you for writing this! What we refuse to talk about is killing our people…keep on writing to save lives! Go Kenrya!