HIV was the fifth and seventh leading cause of death for Black men and women
Respectively, ages 25-44 in 2010 – higher than any other racial/ethnic group
In the face of recent racially driven conversations approaching this Black History Month, Feb. 7, 2016 marked the 17th observance of the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) in the United States. In 1999, NBHAAD was created to raise national awareness of the impact of HIV in the Black community in the United States, and to mobilize efforts around the world to eradicate the virus. In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, although Black Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 44 percent of new HIV infections and an estimated 44 percent of people living with HIV. Even more alarming, the rate of infection within the Black community is nearly eight times that of whites and more than twice that of Latinos. Based on these numbers, we must normalize discussions on race, and effectively bend the curve of new HIV infections. Such drastic differences enforce a need for NBHAAD’s Pillars: to Educate, Test, Involve, and Treat.
In 2014, NBHAAD National Coordinator LaMont “Montee” Evans shared, “Regardless of where we stand on sexual orientation, religious beliefs/values, age, income, education or otherwise, Black life is worth saving and working for the betterment of our survival has to become our paramount objective and goal. It is time for us to end AIDS in Black communities by making sure those living with HIV or AIDS take care of themselves. We stand on some strong shoulders that intended for us to survive.” Two years later this sentiment remains the same.
It is sobering to know that HIV was the fifth and seventh leading cause of death for Black men and women, respectively, ages 25-44 in 2010 – higher than any other racial/ethnic group. Your race should not be the determining factor for your risk of HIV infection. NMAC’s Leading with Race initiative aims to significantly reduce new infections that are disproportionately affecting communities of color. NMAC is committed to staying the course of fighting for racial justice and health equity by partnering with NBHAAD’s national coordinating organizations and stakeholders within government and the private sector. Through all of this, we unapologetically continue to share the dream that together we will forge our own future and end HIV once and for all.
For additional information on NMAC’s Leading with Race initiative visit: www.nmac.org.
Yours in the Struggle,
Jacqueline Coleman, Director of Leadership Pipeline