Contact: Natalie Shure, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 7, 2024 – In the collective effort to engage, educate, and empower advocates around the ongoing impacts on Black communities, and to raise awareness around persistent and new threats to equitably ending the HIV epidemic, this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day beckons us to confront the shadows that linger within our communities, specifically among our Black and Brown queer community members. As an organization founded on activism and strategic advocacy, Treatment Action Group (TAG) is committed to addressing pervasive inequities and emerging attacks on Black communities and intersectionally marginalized groups — inequities and attacks that should enrage everyone invested in achieving an end to the HIV epidemic.
Since the inception of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it has revealed narratives of disproportionate effects on certain groups, particularly the reality of multiple intersecting inequalities that continue to place the burden of HIV on Black and Brown people, among other syndemic conditions. Despite comprising only 13% of the U.S. population, Black people represented 40% of new diagnoses and 40% of people living with HIV. We are currently also witnessing a disturbing resurgence of anti-Black and anti-LGBT policies in the U.S., including brazen attacks on critical race theory, a proliferation of deplorable “anti-woke” policies and sentiment, and threats to human rights of LGBTQ people, underscoring the interconnectedness of these forms of systemic discrimination. A recent study found a 52% spike in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022; and in 2023, over 520 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced, 220 aimed at the transgender community, endangering their well-being and demanding urgent reforms. As activists seeking an end to these inequities, it is incumbent upon us to craft new narratives that challenge such affronts to people’s humanity, while emphasizing health equity, compassion, unencumbered HIV treatment for all who need it, and equitable access to the prophylactic armor of our time, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
The highly esteemed author and activist, James Baldwin, illuminated the power of community narratives, urging us to unearth stories that demand to be told. Today, we must excavate the stories of Black and Brown lives, celebrate (but also, rightfully interrogate the need for) their resilience, and demonstrate solidarity with their struggle against HIV and the systemic barriers that perpetuate vulnerabilities to HIV and other syndemic conditions. It is a call to action woven into the fabric of justice, urging us all to continue doing everything within our power to dismantle structures that perpetuate inequities in healthcare and public policies.
In its purest form, health equity is a testament to our shared humanity. Let us summon the spirit of solidarity, recognizing that every life deserves protection and care. Just as antiretroviral therapy (ART) has done so over the past 28 years, during the past 12 years since its first regulatory approval, PrEP has represented a beacon of hope that an end to the HIV pandemic is attainable. However, its glow must not be confined to the privileged few who are able to afford and obtain it without barriers. We must ensure that this vital tool, and all others that are made possible by biomedical and social-structural advances, are universally accessible to all, while recommitting ourselves to tearing down walls of discrimination that deny its benefits to those who need it most.
On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, in alignment with the theme: “Engage, Educate, Empower: Uniting to End HIV/AIDS in Black Communities,” we articulate an enduring vision of the day when HIV-related health disparities are relegated to a bygone era. Let this be a day of reckoning, a tribute to resilience, and a promise to create together a future where an end to the HIV epidemic will be achieved for every community, particularly Black communities that are most disproportionately affected.
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Social media hashtags:
#TAG #BlackHIVAIDSAwareness #NBHAAD #HealthEquity #PrEPAccess #PrEP
 Treatment Action Group, Martinez-Wright, K., Lovinger, E., & Lee, D. (2023, 10 05). How Rising Anti-LGBTQ Sentiment Harms Public Health. Treatment Action Group. Retrieved 02 06, 2024, from https://www.treatmentactiongroup.org/resources/tagline/tagline-october-2023/how-rising-anti-lgbtq-sentiment-harms-public-health