National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day—Remember and Reflect

Hydeia Broadbent and Magic Johnson at a Nickelodeon special on HIV/AIDS in 1992


There is much to do.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African-Americans are the ethnic/racial group most affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States. In 2009, African-Americans made up 13.6 percent of the population, but 43 percent of reported new cases of HIV.  African-American men have almost 8 times the rate of HIV/AIDS infection as white men, and African-American women have an HIV/AIDS rate 20 times that of white women.  And African-American children are twice as likely to be diagnosed with HIV.

The theme of this year’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is “I am my brother’s/sister’s keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS.” As Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., said at an event launching an AIDS Quilt initiative in 1999, “we must first and foremost cure our own hearts of the fear and ignorance that leads to denial and ostracism of our brothers and sisters who have AIDS. The real shame falls not on the people with AIDS, but on those who would deny their humanity.”  As we think about how to end the AIDS pandemic around the world and in our own towns and cities, let’s focus on how we can do better for our “sisters and brothers”. 

To learn more about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, click here. To read more about what the federal government is doing to honor National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and fight HIV/AIDS in the African-American community, click here.

To read the first blog in our series on African-Americans and HIV/AIDS, click here.

Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.