February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness day.

If that doesn’t send a message to the black community that AIDS is a bigger problem than we would like to admit then I don’t know what more we can do.

We have to have our own national day during Black History Month, a month during which we should be praising and recognizing the accomplishments of African-Americans who came before us.

Yet on this day in February we must spread awareness about the fact that the black community is being disproportionally impacted by AIDS.

HIV/AIDS does not discriminate by any means and affects every community. The H in HIV stands for HUMAN so we are all at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS but we can’t ignore the facts.

African-Americans make up 46 percent of all new diagnosis but are only 12 percent of the US population. I try my very best to understand why people don’t feel they should educate themselves on HIV.

We have an image in our minds of what a person with AIDS looks like, we can spot someone with HIV/AIDS a mile away?

Someone who has AIDS is skinny and has a wasting away look to them with lesions all over their body, or lives in the inner city. Only the girl in the club every weekend or the brother on the corner is at risk for HIV.

Please stop! Shake your head and get those stereotypes, right out of your mind.

I am a size 7 with perfect skin and a pretty face living with full-blown AIDS.

I am not gay nor am I a girl who is promiscuous but yet I am living with AIDS.

We, as Americans, have become very complacent; since we don’t see people walking around looking like death we have chosen to turn a blind eye to HIV.
Because there is still stigma associated with having AIDS we don’t want to speak up and ask our partners for an HIV test or talk to our friends and family about being safe and getting tested for HIV.

Because we are in an elite group of people and make a certain amount of money we are not at risk.

If you go from one sexual relationship to another without asking for an HIV test you are at risk for contracting HIV.

We are not powerless when it comes to fighting AIDS we have a massive weapon, our voices!

We as African-Americans should be outraged with our behavior and our silence.

AIDS isn’t just a problem in third world countries. AIDS is a problem here in America, black America.

We don’t seem to care about our neighbors or ourselves. This is evident in the lack of responsibility people are taking with their own sexual health. CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States. One in five (21 percent) of those people living with HIV are unaware of their infection. This means that people could be unknowingly infecting others.

When are we going to speak up? When are we going to stand up? When are we going to wake up?

Yes I have beat the odds and can get married and have children because of medications but I would not wish my life on anyone.

Having AIDS is very costly and with cut backs across the board the government isn’t so willing to pick up the tab and pay for life saving medications anymore. Yes there is hope if you are living with AIDS but it’s not easy. I use my struggles and life as a warning for people who are negative to please stay negative.

On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, post one fact about HIV/AIDS on your Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social media site you use.

Please get tested, early detection can be the difference between life and death.

— Hydeia Broadbent, HIV/AIDS Activist, www.HydeiaBroadbent.com.