We have the power to help bring HIV/AIDS to an end
by Isaiah Wilson
December 1, 2017
As a Black gay man living with HIV and born in the late 1980s, after the initial height of the epidemic, I have been blessed to benefit from medical as well as social advances in HIV/AIDS treatment.
I am privileged to have access to treatment, stable housing and the support of a loving network of family and friends. Because of the work I do daily at the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBTQ) and same gender loving (SGL) people, I know my experience is not the reality for many Black people living with HIV/AIDS.
African Americans represent 13 percent of the US population, but our families and communities are disproportionately impacted by the spread, physical toll, and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Since the emergence of HIV in the early 1980s, African Americans have represented a significant portion of those living with HIV and those who have died from AIDS complications. For too long, stigma compounded with the racial injustices in the health care system have made it difficult for African Americans to access competent health care.
In addition, the stigma and shame surrounding HIV/AIDS has kept too many members of our beloved community from standing in solidarity with individuals living with HIV or seeking the testing, prevention efforts and treatment services that could otherwise save lives.