- Faith & Family
If you’ve been listening to the latest reports about HIV/AIDS and its impact on Black women, you may now be thinking that things are getting better given recent data indicating that the percentage of new infections has decreased. But local health officials warn that any celebrations may be a bit premature. That’s because despite a dip in the percentages of Black women testing HIV-positive, the sheer numbers have barely gone down. So while white and Hispanic women have seen a rise in HIV-positive results, Black women still represent the lion’s share of infections.
As Vanessa Mills, executive director for Liberty City-based health agency Empower “U” says, “Don’t be fooled by the statistics — the face of AIDS is still Black.”
That’s why efforts like the recent National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day are so crucial. Far too many young girls and women are engaging in sexual intercourse without knowing the HIV status of their partners. And many men and women, particularly Black, don’t even know their HIV status because they’ve never been tested.
Medical advances have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS but for adults there is still no cure. So while one can live with this chronic illness, why are so many of us playing Russian Roulette with our health?
Protection is the primary means to remain HIV-negative but common sense also goes a long way. Be smart, be safe, get tested and before you start cuddling with Mr. or Miss Right, know their status too. Maybe your first date should be to the clinic instead of to the bedroom.