Another Day; Another Disease; Another Ribbon
Will We Wake Up?
February 7, 2008 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD
Each year there is are national observances on a host of conditions/health concerns. One very important day of observance was on February 7, 2008. On December 1st, I highlighted World AIDS Day and challenged us all to not just focus on the day but rather to take action for the days, weeks and months to come.
I challenge us all to do the same, especially with Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. I must tell you that I was very disappointed with the lack of media coverage both in general and specialty (African American/minority) media outlets. Why are we not talking and doing more in OUR communities. Do we not know, do we not care or do we think that if we close our eyes that this disease will just go away?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans have:
Ø More illness. Even though African Americans account for about 13% of the US population, they account for about half of the people who get HIV and AIDS.
Ø Shorter survival times. Blacks with AIDS often don’t live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS. This is due to the barriers mentioned above.
Ø More deaths. For African Americans and other black
HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.
I dedicate a lot of my time, energy and resources to HIV/AIDS awareness. If you’ve purchased "All I Ever Did Was Love a Man", you’ve helped us to provide FREE testing and support for persons living with HIV/AIDS. As many of you know, all of my royalties from this book are directed to this effort-- you get a great novel/story and now THOUSANDS have been tested as a result of our efforts.
Did you know?
*63% of children with HIV/AIDS are Black
*41% of men with HIV/AIDS are Black
*64% of women with HIV/AIDS are Black
Yes, whether you know it or not, someone in YOUR family, YOUR friends, YOUR church member or YOUR coworker has HIV/AIDS and it could be you. I hope that we know that you can't tell by looking and if you have EVER had sex with another person you are at risk. In 2008 we still think of HIV/AIDS as a disease that only REALLY affects people that are "certain" people--- drug abusers, homosexuals, prostitutes or persons that are "loose". God made us all and this ignorance is killing us because HIV/AIDS can affect anyone including YOU!
I ask that you talk to your friends, children, family, church members, sorors, frat, and anyone that you know about HIV/AIDS. Have YOU been tested? Are you living with HIV/AIDS and are you living life to the fullest--despite your diagnosis. I’m reminded of the movie (I'm telling my age), School Daze by Spike Lee. In the last scene, Laurence Fishburne comes out of the dorm and yells-- "WAKE UP!"
I’m one voice in the wilderness—screaming at the top of my lungs for all to "WAKE UP and LIVE!" Join my voice and the voices of thousands of others that desire to see an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide!