AIDS in the Black Community - What You Need to Know

The Basics: 

AIDS SymbolAIDS and HIV have not been hitting the headlines lately and that may not be a good thing.  Yes the number of AIDS cases have dropped in America and people are living longer with HIV and yes Magic Johnson is still alive, but these are no reasons to think that AIDS is not a devastating health epidemic in the Black community.

If you are a young sexually active African American you have a 5 times as likely of getting HIV compared to your white counterpart.  Black men are spreading the disease like wildfire and black women are the unwitting victims.  Both sides need to get real about AIDS and there are some things that each party needs to know.

The following information comes from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The Bad News

HIV and AIDS are still rampant in the black community.  If black America was a country unto itself, it would have the 16th worst epidemic in the world.  

Despite representing only 14% of the US population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections in that year.

In 2009, black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. Most (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex.

The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.

At some point of in their lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection.

Approximately 1 in 5 adults with HIV is living with HIV and doesn't know it.  This translates into approximately 116,750 HIV-positive people in the African American community.

The Good News

Studies show that those on anti-viral meds have a less than 5% of transmitting HIV to a partner.

Using condoms will reduce your risk of transmission even more.

Anyone can get a free HIV test.  Here is an article to help you get tested.

The Bottom Line

If you get tested and practice safe sex you have a very god chance of NOT contracting HIV and/or not spreading it to anyone else.  If you already have HIV and take your meds you have a good chance of survival and not spreading the virus to anyone else.  Don't do these things and you are part of the problem.

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Return to the Health Survival Guide

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