In honor of National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ( Sept. 27 ), the National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) released a statement:
"Today is a day to celebrate that HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was, thanks to the effective HIV medication made possible by the tireless organizing of queer folks in the 1980s and 1990s," said National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) Executive Director David Johns. "However, it's also a time to call out the fact that Black people today account for 43 percent of all HIV infections, despite only representing 12 percent of the U.S. population.
"We need to reject the notion that an HIV diagnosis is something to be ashamed of, and invite our loved ones into the important conversation around how to manage and control this virus. We need for elected officials to champion the needs of Black people living with HIV or at risk of contracting the virus, including by holding pharmaceutical companies, health insurance executives, and providers accountable for their role in creating and continuing racialized health inequities.
"It's time for all of us to challenge the continued shame and stigma around HIV. We need to create space for those thriving with HIV to share their stories, and to encourage openness about the steps folks take to protect themselves from the virus.
"Having the education, communication tools, medically accurate information, and access we need around HIV/AIDs awareness is an essential part of the ability of Black queer, trans, and non-binary people to flourish as our full, beautiful selves."