There are several challenges facing the African American community that impact HIV prevention efforts and how well African Americans with HIV/AIDS cope with the disease. Some of these challenges are
Poverty. People who don’t have much money cannot always get good health care. Day-to-day living may be more important than taking care of their health. Poor people may need to spend their time, energy, and money just to get food, shelter, and transportation. This can affect whether a person gets information about HIV and AIDS and whether they have access to HIV testing. If they become infected with HIV, they may not know it, they may not get treatment soon enough, or may not get treatment at all.
Denial. Some African Americans may believe that HIV is not a concern for the African American community or that HIV is mostly a white, gay male disease. Topics such as homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, drug use, and other sensitive issues often make talking about HIV and AIDS a challenge. African Americans may find these discussions even more challenging when already faced with the issues of race.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Certain STDs can greatly increase the chances of getting HIV. Also, a person who has both HIV and certain STDs has a greater chance of spreading HIV to others.
Drug Use. Injecting drugs is the second leading cause of HIV infection for both black women and men. In addition to injecting drugs, people who use other drugs are more likely to take risks, such as unprotected sex when they are under the influence. Drug use can also affect treatment for those with HIV, causing them to not take medicine when they need to.
Until There’s A Cure… help raise awareness.
Talk about it. And remember, HIV/AIDS is preventable. Silence is deadly.