So now you know—the State of AIDS in Black America is dire and getting worse. Moreover, over the past eight years Washington has done little to nothing about that fact. So what are you going to do about it? We’ve got some ideas.
First and foremost, you’ve got to make sure you’re taking personal responsibility for ending AIDS.
Get Tested. If you’re sexually active, get tested on a regular basis—and take everyone you love with you, especially anyone you’re having sex with.
Challenge Stigma. It’s killing us. Don’t let shame surrounding HIV—or sex, or drugs, or gay and bisexual relationships—cripple you or your community. Challenge it every time you encounter it, because silence still equals death.
Be Active Locally. Find out where you can volunteer to help organizations that are combating HIV in your community. Contact one of the national organizations discussed in this report to find out if they have a local chapter.
One great way to get involved locally is to join the Black AIDS Institute’s Test 1 Million campaign. Launched on National HIV Testing Day 2008, the campaign aims to get one million black Americans to learn their HIV status over the next two years—by National HIV Testing Day 2010, on June 27 of that year.
Individuals interested in joining the campaign are asked to get tested for HIV/AIDS in order to become an official Test 1 Million member. Organizations interested in joining the campaign as affiliates commit to testing individuals in their community and hosting HIV/AIDS community events.
Once you’ve taken responsibility for yourself and your loved ones, then you’ve got to speak up and demand federal policy makers take responsibility, too. The new Obama administration and Congress present a unique opportunity for our community’s fight against AIDS. But we must engage and support them to ensure their promises and potential lead to real changes.
The first thing you can do is join the Call to Action for a National AIDS Strategy. As explained in the State of Treatment chapter of this report, President Obama has vowed to draft America’s first comprehensive game-plan for ending the epidemic. Log on to BlackAIDS.org to send the White House an e-mail supporting that pledge and urging swift action to fulfill it.