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World AIDS Day: Black professionals stress education, prevention and safe sex

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December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day created to promote unity in the fight against HIV and AIDS, give support to those living with the HIV and AIDS, and commemorate those who have died from HIV-or AIDS-related illnesses.

In recognition of World AIDS Day, rolling out reached out to leaders in our community to share their insights about the importance of continuing the conversation about HIV and AIDS, safe sex practices and the health of Black people across the diaspora.

How important is it to commemorate World AIDS Day and continue having conversations about HIV, AIDS and safe sex?

Tiffany Roan, Georgia regional director for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Photo courtesy of Tiffany Roan)


“World AIDS Day was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to show support of those living with HIV and commemorate those who perished due to AIDS-related illnesses.  Although there are numerous awareness days, World AIDS Day was the first global health awareness day ever established, and it provides a platform to host celebrations of life, educational events, and HIV testing opportunities worldwide.  This day of awareness continues to remain vital to the fight against HIV particularly in light of medical advancements that have provided those with HIV to not only live but thrive. Although these advancements are amazing, they have contributed to the notion that HIV is no longer a concern when in actuality access to medical advancements along with prevention tools such as condoms are not readily available across the globe. Additionally, in developed parts of the world like the U.S. medical advancements have contributed to a false sense of security causing younger generations to not take the necessary precautions in securing their sexual health. World AIDS Day sets aside a time for the world to be reminded of how far we’ve come and how much farther we still have to go.”

What should a person do on World AIDS Day?

Pastor and Lead Servant Will Francis, The HUB Christian Center (Photo courtesy of Pastor Will Francis)

“World AIDS Day isn’t a holiday or an event to be ‘celebrated,’ so soberly we need to do what we can to advance the cause. Get tested, volunteer, donate, support someone with HIV or even talk about HIV is always a good start, but also look for ways to be engaged and present more throughout the year to destigmatize HIV.”

What more can be done to increase awareness and combat the increasing numbers of those affected with HIV and AIDS?

Dr. Jacqueline Walters, OBGYN (Photo credit: Steed Media)

“We need to keep spreading awareness from HIV-infected African American individuals, African American celebrities, all social and traditional media, church groups, doctors, politicians and other influential people in our global and local communities. This can help to increase awareness. Also staying informed and educated regarding HIV in our communities and the country at large will help to continue awareness.”

Is it taboo or smart for women to carry condoms?

Seven Jackson, HIV hip-hop activist (Photo courtesy of Seven Jackson)

“It is absolutely smart for women to carry condoms. There is no script to life. Live your life to the fullest, but never be caught off guard!”