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National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Ernest Hopkins on the Promise of Equality

, by San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Ernest Hopkins, San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s director of legislative affairs

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at last count African-Americans made up 14% of the U.S. population but accounted for 44% of new HIV infections. Young black gay and bisexual men are becoming infected with HIV at three times the rate of their white counterparts, a recent study revealed.

Today marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an initiative designed to change these trends by promoting HIV testing and increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment among African-Americans.

In a moving guest opinion appearing today on HuffingtonPost.com, Ernest Hopkins, San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s director of legislative affairs, calls on governments, communities, health care providers, and individuals to work toward ending these health disparities.

“From the federal government to the community health clinic to the kitchen table,” writes Hopkins, “there is a space for each of us to muster our strengths and tackle the structural and social barriers that impede access to HIV testing, treatment and care, and support services—barriers like stigma, discrimination, and economic hardship that continue to drive HIV infections among African-Americans, and among black gay men in particular.”

Read an excerpt from Hopkins’ piece below, and visit HuffingtonPost.com to read the full piece.

To learn about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events in your area, get the facts on HIV among African-Americans, and find out where to get tested, visit www.NationalBlackAIDSDay.org.

The Promise of Equality: Fighting HIV among African-Americans

By Ernest Hopkins

February 7, 2013

When President Obama stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to take his second oath of office, he said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”

It was a significant and historic moment for the gay rights movement—and for the fight against HIV/AIDS among African-Americans. Only when we achieve full equality and inclusion of everyone, as the president so boldly envisioned in his inauguration address, will we truly end the AIDS epidemic as we’ve known it in the United States. On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is important to reflect on the tremendous progress we’ve made, and to rededicate ourselves to the hard work still ahead to stop the spread of HIV among people of color and expand access to life-saving care….

Visit HuffingtonPost.com to read the full article.

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