Since the first cases of HIV were reported over 30 years ago, Black people and our families have been the most impacted. We all carry with us the stories of relatives, friends, neighbors and other loved ones who are no longer with us due to HIV/AIDS. We have collectively allowed stigma, fear and a lack of communication to hinder us from standing up to support our loved ones living with HIV/AIDS. Their cries of despair are ingrained in our memories during a time when most people willingly neglected those living with HIV/AIDS because of ignorance, shame and a lack of compassion. Today, we have made incredible advances in the knowledge and treatment of HIV/AIDS, but too many of us remain silent around the issue. However, our families continue to be the public face of HIV/AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of new HIV infection in African Americans is eight times that of whites based on population size. We must recognize and embrace that HIV/AIDS is a Black health issue, and we must stand up to end this epidemic.
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