Not 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. â€œYouâ€™re preaching to the choir,â€ you might yell at me, hoping Iâ€™ll stop telling well-traveled, well-educated, (obviously) well-read Black women what they need to do to prevent infection. But Iâ€™d tell you to â€œPipe down in the cheap seats.â€ When 1 in every 30 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV in her lifetime,Â somebody didn’t read the damn memo.
Let me out that into perspective: Iâ€™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 â€œjust onceâ€ and end up with something we just canâ€™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 itâ€™s still alive and kicking ass. Donâ€™t get it twisted, Magic might still look good, but in â€™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 youâ€™re thinking, â€œHe looks clean,â€ and heâ€™s thinking â€œI am clean,â€ you both could be dead wrong.
Thatâ€™s unacceptable. Iâ€™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 27thÂ is National HIV Testing Day. Iâ€™ve gotten tested every single year since I was 18â€”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.
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