Tomorrow is World AIDS Day! On December 1st of every year we pause to honor those who have died and to raise our voice in support of those living with HIV/AIDS. This year we must also remember how important it is to protect ourselves and prevent exposure to HIV.
- African-American and Hispanic women accounted for 80% of NEW HIV diagnoses in 2010?
- The rate of HIV/AIDS diagnosis among African-American women is 15 times higher than the rate of infection among white women and 4 times higher than the rate among Hispanic women?
- Current estimates are that 1 in 32 African-American women and 1 in 106 Hispanic women will acquire HIV infection in their lifetimes? Compared to 1 in 562 white women?
- African-American women account for 65% of deaths among women infected with HIV in the US?
I hope you find these data as shocking and scary as I did when I read the report! We simply must come together as a community of Sisters and educate ourselves and each other and take control of our sexual health to prevent infection in the first place. We must also support the Sisters who are already infected with HIV and help them to delay the onset of AIDS.
Let’s start with education. Take the time to get the facts and educate yourself about HIV/AIDS. Take the quiz below to test your knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
How did you do? If you did not do so well on the quiz, click here to download important information about HIV/AIDS.
If you did well, congratulations, but don’t get too confident. Information alone will not prevent HIV/AIDS. Your next step is to learn your HIV status. Thousands of people are infected every year because they unknowingly had intercourse with someone who was HIV positive. Unfortunately, most folks don’t know their HIV status. HIV testing is still free and confidential. Make a commitment to get tested and know your status.
- More than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S.
- One in five living with HIV is unaware of their infection.
- Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), particularly young, black MSM, are the most severely affected by HIV.
- By race, African-Americans face the most severe HIV burden.
HIV/AIDS is no longer the ‘death sentence’ it once was. Thanks to big advancements in science and health care services delivery people who are HIV positive are living longer, healthier lives. If you are HIV positive—get connected NOW to a support system. The National Association of People with AIDS offers resources and support designed just for you! They even have their own online dating service, PozMatch.Com to help HIV positive people find love and companionship.
Thousands of Sisters and Brothers worldwide are making a difference and supporting those impacted by HIV/AIDS. Watch the inspirational video below showing how HIV positive Sisters and Brothers are giving back and helping others! You will be changed by their stories.
So, today on World AIDS Day educate yourself and others, take steps to prevent yourself from becoming HIV positive, get tested and most importantly, support the individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. We are one global community and must take care of each other.