Few diseases carry a stronger negative social stigma than HIV/AIDS: human immunodeficiency virus, which can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Part of the stigma comes from the high association of the disease with homosexual activity and sharing of drug needles, but indeed anyone can be infected. Despite recent advances in detection, and increased willingness to talk about the diseases in society, they still impact the lives of 35 million people worldwide.

 

In the United States, some demographics get hit harder than others; recent figures have shown that the African-American community suffers from HIV/AIDS at a far higher rate than any other section of the population. Both genders suffer greatly as a result of this; African-American women infected with HIV alone outnumber infected white women at a rate of 20:1 and infected Hispanic women 5:1. In the transgender community, the problem is even worse; studies indicate that roughly “56 percent of black transgender women are HIV positive.”

 

February 7th is National Black HIV and AIDS Awareness Day (jswmediagroup.org)

February 7 is National Black HIV and AIDS Awareness Day (jswmediagroup.org)

One reason is that many African-Americans do not wish to disclose their HIV or AIDS status to their potential sexual partners out of fear of discrimination and prejudice. Black Americans already suffer so much in this nation that some would simply rather not give anyone any reason to disassociate with them. Mass imprisonments expose large quantities of African-American men and women to the dangerous, drug-filled jail environments that increase the likelihood of exposure to the viruses.

 

Additionally, as a statistically impoverished racial demographic, many African-Americans simply do not have the financial resources to acquire products needed to ensure safe sex, such as condoms. The Center for Disease Control has previously enacted funding programs to assist in the treatment and prevention of these viruses among disproportionately infected minorities.

 

We have made great strides regarding these diseases over the last few decades. However, if we do not look out for every suffering demographic, we will never eradicate HIV/AIDS completely?

 

Do you or someone you know suffer from HIV/AIDS? What do you think can be done about this problem? Comment below or tweet @connerws to keep the conversation going!