Let's Work for An AIDS-free Generation of Black Women
Today is World AIDS Day. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the impact this devasting disease has on our families and communities, assessing the progress we've made in fighting to end this epidemic and recognizing the opportunity for us to achieve the goal of an AIDS free-generation and getting to zero new infections for Black women.
At the Black Women's Health Imperative, we have been battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic through awareness, education and uplifting the often unheard voices of Black women for 25 years. Over the years, as the organization's first board chair in 1984 and now president and CEO, I have witnessed the Imperative demand that our nation's leaders recognize this terrible disease's relentless devastation on our community and unyielding attack on Black women.
For the first time in my 30 years as an advocate for policies and practices that support improving Black women's access to health services, I am pleased to say that I can imagine an AIDS-free generation. Our families now, because of the Affordable Care Act, have greater access to HIV screening and other preventive services. Every day new treatments, improved care and services and more scientific advances are being made. Recently, the FDA approved the first drug that prevents HIV transmission, and in 2010, the Obama Administration unveiled the first national HIV/AIDS strategy.
Yet, this progress has not benefitted all of us equally. It is now time to call on our nation's public health systems, our community institutions, our faith-based organizations and our familes to work together for an AIDS-free generation by prioritizing reproductive health services for women.
A once taboo topic of conversation in our community, I now hear us talking about HIV/AIDS in hair salons, see us utilizing social media to spread awareness about it and stand beside a greater number of Black women's health advocates who are emphasizing that silence is no longer an option.
As we commemorate World AIDS Day today, I encourage you to share with us the role you will play in breaking the silence, moving beyond the shame and stigma and elevating the conversation about HIV/AIDS. You can visit www.elevateconversation.org to learn how to start the conversation.
We will win! We will get to zero or Black women!