Today (March 10), on National Women and Girls HIV AIDS Awareness Day, advocates and lawmakers stand in solidarity with thousands of women who are living with HIV. Among all women who are diagnosed with HIV, an estimated 60 percent are Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, have partnered to highlight the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on Black women and girls and present solutions to eliminate stigma and increase access to lifesaving health care.
According to the CDC, around one in four people living with HIV is a woman and only about half of those women are receiving care. African Americans are more likely to die from HIV and AIDS than any other group. Among all women, Black women are disproportionately likely to receive a diagnosis; they are diagnosed at 15 times the rate of White women. Transgender women are also at high risk for HIV and more than half of all transgender people with HIV are African American.
In the video above, Coleman, who co-chairs the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls and advocates to expand research on HIV prevention tools including PReP and sex education, addresses those numbers:
Despite the progress that we’ve made towards eliminating new HIV and AIDS infections and supporting those living full lives with HIV and AIDS, Black Americans are still disproportionately impacted, especially Black women. […] To combat HIV and AIDS, we need to address the lack of access to health care, comprehensive sex education and resource in Black communities. We also need to talk more about the existing tools that help us to eliminate the virus, including PREP, a safe and effective HIV prevention option.
“Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic is much bigger than just treating it,” Johns adds. “To ensure the health and wellness of our community and to end the transmission of HIV/AIDS, we need federal non-discriminatory legislation, like the Equality Act, to provide clear and consistent protection for all Black people, including Black LGBTQ and same-gender-loving people.”
Watch the video above, then follow the hashtag #NWGHAAD to learn more.