What is HIV?
According to HIV.org, “HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases” (“What Are HIV and AIDS?”). “It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex […], or through sharing injection drug equipment” (“What Are HIV and AIDS?”). “If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)” (“What Are HIV and AIDS?”). “The human body can’t get rid of HIV and no effective HIV cure exists. So, once you have HIV, you have it for life” (“What Are HIV and AIDS?”).
HIV in Black and African American Communities:
HIV is a crisis that impacts all demographics, but even still, it disproportionality affects Black and African American communities all throughout the United States as the graph below displays.
HIV In Africa:
Similar to that of African Americans, Africa has its own matter with HIV. According to HIV.gov, “The vast majority of people with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries. In 2020, there were 20.6 million people with HIV (55%) in eastern and southern Africa, [and] 4.7 million (13%) in western and central Africa, […]” (“Global Statistics”).
HIV comes with a lot of complications, especially when there is no cure for it yet, and even though there have been studies done to reduce the existence of the disease in the body, people need to take precautions to prevent it from spreading in the first place. these are just some of the challenges with prevention right now:
Ending HIV/Aids Stigma:
One of the reasons why HIV and Aids are so obscure and hard to understand comes from the negative biases associated with them. Finding ways to understand people who suffered from these ailments can lead to more conversations and action, which can help immensely with fighting the spread as well as getting to zero. Provided below are some resources to help understand and act against stigmas:
Pathway for HIV Free Communities
The race to functional zero for new HIV infections, Getting to Zero (GTZ), is a nationwide, multi-sector, and multi-dimensional effort that may help build the pathway for HIV-free communities. The goal is to make sure all communities are getting the right physical, mental, emotional, and social support.
ACHI partnering with the ROOTS clinic is providing comprehensive HIV/STD-related behavioral and clinical services. We welcome Africans, African Americans, and African descendants in Santa Clara County, California. Take advantage of the free resources, access to free and rapid testing, and related counseling and support. To help the underserved immigrants with language barriers, we have also translated information for the Amharic and Tigrinya African Languages. Our staff will also coordinate support for other languages as needed. If you know someone who has a language barrier but needs assistance, please refer the individual to ACHI. To learn more, check the following links. These consist of educational resources on how to prevent yourself from HIV, or what to do if you already have it, so you could enjoy a normal life.