HIV lifetime infection risk (Photo Credit: CDC)

The recent announcement that HIV rates in Atlanta are similar to those in some African nations caused concern for many. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released data that shows the lifetime risk of HIV diagnoses by state and unfortunately the Deep South and D.C. lead the way. The experts have stated that HIV infection is at an epidemic level in the Black community. If you’re poor, Black, sexually active and young, the chance of infection in the cities of the South are serious. Especially when it comes to drug use and unprotected sex among young millennials and older closeted gay and bi-sexual Black men.

It’s a strange transitional period where Black conservative sexual values morph into a millennial rejection of the past and embracing of their sexuality. The new agenda is to upset the social value apple cart. The fact of the matter is that American sexual culture has changed and with it also the sexually active Black community. Looking at the past, the Women’s Rights movement in the ’60s found privileged white women breaking from the ’50s housewife image and demanding an egalitarian relationship. This was in direct opposition to our Black culture at the time and we adapted in our own way. So, too, it will be with this new generation. The problem is when you see only the unlimited future and fail to observe what has happened in the past, there are consequences.

We cannot be distracted. The reality that if you live in Washington, D.C. the CDC says you have a 1 in 13 chance of a HIV diagnoses in your lifetime is quite harsh. What does this mean for the Black community, as a whole? The sexually liberated Black millennial must remain aware that unprotected sex combined with a lack of the knowledge of their history is deadly.

The CDC lists these 10 states as locations where residents have the highest chance of an HIV diagnosis in their lifetime:

  1. Washington, DC – 1 in 13
  2. Maryland – 1 in 49
  3. Georgia- 1 in 51
  4. Florida- 1 in 54
  5. Louisiana- 1 in 56
  6. New York- 1 in 79
  7. Texas -1 in 81
  8. New Jersey -1 in 84
  9. Mississippi -1 in 85
Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.