Let's Stand up and Applaud each other…for survival, strength, determination, Purpose, and Destiny…Now, take a look around you…look to your neighbors on your left and now look to your neighbors on the right…Startling stats tell us that 1 out of 5 people don't know their status…is that you?
I would never have believed or asked to be affected by HIV, but I believe that in all things there is a purpose; and I'm here before you on behalf of the affected people who are unable to speak because of the shock, denial, stigma and humiliation that is associated with this topic HIV/AIDS whose lost their voice…
- The reality of AIDS is brutally clear. Women of color are especially affected by HIV infection and AIDS. We make up only 12% of the female population in the United States, yet we account for 66% of new HIV infections. In 2009, HIV infection was the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25–34 years and the third leading cause of death for African American women aged 35–44 years.
Worldwide, forty million, sixty million, or a hundred million infections will be counted in the coming few years.
But despite our efforts, and good intentions it is the epidemic, which is winning today!
I ask you to recognize that HIV/AIDS is not someone else's problem. It doesn't care whether you are Democrat/Republican; it does not ask whether you are black/white, male/female, gay/straight, young/old or rich/poor.
TODAY, we represent a community whose members have been reluctantly drafted from every apartment and suburb IN OUR COMMUNITIES. Though I am an African American grandmother, I am one voice crying with many throughout the streets of Harlem to Arizona bringing you Real Talk about a Real Issue with a dose of Reality!
Let's explore some Real Talk!
Let's get to the nitty gritty and understand a few things about us! We love and we love hard! We must use protection at all times!
We may take refuge in our stereotypes, but we cannot hide there long. Because HIV asks only one thing of those it attacks: Are you human? And this is the right question: Because people with HIV have not entered some alien state of being. They are human. They have not earned cruelty and they do not deserve meanness. They don't benefit from being stigmatized, isolated or treated as outcasts. Each of them is exactly what God made: a human being. Not evil, deserving of our judgment; not victims, longing for our pity, but family who are ready and worthy for our compassion and love!
But HIV is different and we have helped it along. We have killed each other with our ignorance, prejudice, and our SILENCE. So now you know…the State of AIDS in America is dire and getting worse. So what are you going to do about it?
First and foremost, you've got to make sure you're taking personal responsibility for ending AIDS.
Get Tested. If you're sexually active, get tested on a regular basis—and take everyone you love with you, especially anyone you're having sex with.
Challenge Stigma. It's killing us. Don't let shame surrounding HIV—or sex, or drugs, or gay and bisexual relationships—cripple you or your community. Challenge it every time you encounter it, because silence still equals death.
Be Active Locally. TALK ABOUT IT DAILY! VOLUNTEER!
Let's continue to Stand up and applaud each other for getting tested on a regular basis, love, encouragement, and support for our communities.