He’s dead! “Uncle Martin is dead” was all I was told, a mere 14 year old Nigerian American girl, in the car with my mother, shocking waves pierced my heart over and over trying to understand how my 43 year old uncle could be dead. “She is dead” was the same verdict I received one year later from my mother that my aunt had passed away, leaving behind 7 children. My mind was confused as I tried to understand the depths of this conversation that my mother was trying to have, but AIDS was all she said. A.I.D.S. -- a four letter word that had the power to wipe out an entire continent.
Blog — Health
On this World AIDS Day, as the world focuses its attention on the epidemic around the globe, we cannot forget there is an HIV crisis raging right here in our own backyards.
Over the last 40 years, largely as a result of the war on drugs, our nation has increased its prison population nearly 400% and a disproportionate number of those incarcerated are black men. Today, approximately 2.3 million children have an incarcerated parent and 500,000 black fathers are incarcerated. Over-incarceration in the United States plays a significant role in eroding the black family structure and communities are paying the price. What has not been highlighted as much however is that over-incarceration perpetuates HIV transmission in poor communities of color- a lesson I learned many years ago.
A.C.T. is an acronym for Advocacy, Community Mobilization & Education, and Training. It is a call to action, from NAACP’s health department, for members to galvanize around health issues and act to change the outcome.
Forward Promise - a new initiative from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) - seeks to find the best ideas to help young men of color succeed in life, school and work.
The Church is at a crossroads. If we choose the road of the status quo we will continue to die in silence and shame. If we plant our feet on higher ground and start to truly believe that we are called to do even greater works, we can see a dramatic shift in the rates of transmission of HIV in our lifetime. When we take the call seriously to teach, minister, preach, and heal, our community will be saved.
Greater Than AIDS, in partnership with GYT: Get Yourself Tested and AIDSVu, hosted a booth at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles July 23-28. Convention attendees shared their "Deciding Moments" at the Greater Than AIDS Photobooth and got tested for HIV and other STDs at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation booth nearby.
This year’s Health Symposium on Saturday, July 23 will be historic, as the three African American Surgeon Generals will sit in one room to discuss the state of black health to NAACP Health advocates from across the country.
June 27, 1981 I remember very well because it was 2 days after I graduated from high school; I was heading off to college to be ‘pre-med’. I vaguely remember hearing about a disease or syndrome that affected young gay men. It seemed very mysterious and far removed from my life. It was not on any global or national agenda, nor were there faith based initiatives, celebrity spokespersons; there were no national public health campaigns with cheeky taglines; no one was signing up for bicycle races or walks for the cure to rally around. HIV/AIDS was a whisper; even The Artist could not say it out loud, it was “the big disease with a little name”. It was that scary.
June 27 marked National HIV Testing Day, where health advocates nationwide encouraged Americans to get tested. In the spirit of the day, we sat down with NAACP Health Director Shavon Arline to answer your questions about HIV & AIDS, and discuss the NAACP's HIV prevention efforts and how you can get involved.
Thirty years ago, on June 5, 1981, CDC published the first report of cases of what is now known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reported on Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five previously healthy young men in Los Angeles, California. These cases were later recognized as the first reported cases of AIDS in the United States.
In the United States, African Americans still face a higher risk of HIV infection than any other racial or ethnic group as evidenced by AIDSVu.org (hyper link on Monday), an online mapping tool that provides a visual display of the prevalence of HIV. Black men and women of all ages and sexual orientations are less likely than other Americans to know they are infected, are diagnosed late and are less likely to be receiving treatment. We cannot continue to tolerate these disparities
Black people continue to bear the brunt of the AIDS epidemic; we are also being rocked by the economic recession. As Black families lose their homes, jobs, and health insurance, it is critical that a bigger and stronger safety-net be available. The health care reform legislation passed last year is a major step towards health-related security for all Black Americans especially those living with HIV/AIDS.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers hope to millions of Americans who will gain insurance coverage under it; and the definition of essential benefits plays a crucial role in turning that hope into a useful reality. As Secretary Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said recently:
In February 2011 I began a project asking 200 Black men “What comes to mind when you think about HIV and AIDS?” Ages 18 to 60, participants hailed from L.A., Baltimore, DC, Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, New York, Miami and Chicago. None worked in the health field or HIV industry. Responses to the question varied, but not by much. A typical reply was “I think of homosexuality,” said one 30ish gentleman, waiting at Atlanta's Hartsfield airport for a flight to Dallas. “That’s mostly who has it. Right? That’s what I heard.” I then asked, “If that were true what would you do about it?” Suddenly, he was speechless. Conspicuously, I anticipated his reply. “What can I do about that?” he finally said. I asked, “Is that a real question, because you care, or was it rhetorical?” Appearing to second guess himself, he responded, “Man, I gotta catch my flight. It was cool talking with you. Peace.”