1 in 22 Black People Will Contract HIV. That’s Why I Cried.
Luvvie’s note: A couple of weeks ago, I was on Twitter and saw an impassioned rant. The person behind the tweets was speaking with such fervor about the issue of HIV/AIDS and its effect on women. I asked her to write a blog post for the Red Pump blog, and she graciously accepted. Thank you, Kim.
P.S. If you’d like to submit a post to be featured on The Red Pump Project’s blog, please email to email@example.com. We want to hear your voices pertaining to HIV/AIDS; it’s impact, your personal connection to it, or Why you “Rock the Red Pump.”
1 in 22 Black People Will Contract HIV. That’s Why I Cried. by Kimberly R. Moore
On October 14, 2010 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released an HIV Risk Survey that stated “1 in 22 African Americans will become infected with HIV in their lifetime.” This is more than twice the risk of Latinos and eight times the risk of whites. As an African American woman I take this personally, and to say I am mad is an understatement. Upon hearing this statistic, I went on a twitter rant expressing my disgust for this newfound information. Never had I experienced the phrase “made my blood boil” until I came across this article. Granted, it’s no surprise that African Americans are once again at the height of this epidemic but it’s a little unsettling when you can put this new statistic into perspective. I have a social circle of 22 African American friends which means one of them could become infected with HIV and this does not sit well with me.
The more I went on my twitter rant, tears began to fall down my face. I cried, and I cried. I cried because I have seen many die from a disease that is preventable. I can recall watching one of my African American clients as she was dying, going to the hospital day after day seeing how HIV had ravaged her body. It was three of us (all service providers) that cared for her while she was dying. We changed her bedding, changed her hospital clothing, fed her, braided her hair and sang to her as nurses passed by asking us to do their job because they were afraid to touch her, yes – even in 2010. My heart broke each and every day we went into the hospital watching her long for family – family that would never come. I remember talking with her about her final wishes and not being able to understand what she wanted because her throat was completely swollen due to yeast (one of HIV/AIDS’ many effects). When she passed I was, in a sense, grateful. I was tired of seeing her hurt, tired of seeing the LACK of treatment, tired of seeing the LACK of compassion!
I am always telling people that you’re not mad until you’re mad enough to want to act! Well I’ve been mad for a while, but I’m hoping at this point that you too, are mad!
Why should we sit around and watch our fellow brothers and sisters continue to succumb to a disease that can be prevented?
Why should we have some of the worst statistics for HIV?
I didn’t fall into this line of work by happenstance. I know without a doubt I was called by God to do this and I will not stop until He calls me home. What I am asking now is, will you join me? We should be screaming HIV prevention from the mountain top. It does not take money for individuals to talk about HIV prevention. If you have any type of social network (FB, twitter, blog, tumblr, website etc) you are capable of spreading the message. We cannot continue acting like everyone is waiting until after they are married to engage in sexual intercourse. People ARE having sex! The least we can do is give them the tools they need to protect themselves! Tell the ones you love about HIV, knowledge will never be more powerful!
Black IS beautiful, but it’s not beautiful if it’s extinct!
Kimberly R. Moore is a motivational speaker and currently in school to obtain a certification as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. She works at Christie’s Place, a non-profit social support center for Women, Children and Families living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Kim also sits on the Board of Directors as Vice President for the Kemet Coalition, a non-profit organization of HIV Service providers committed to addressing the disproportionate prevalence of HIV/AIDS in African Americans throughout San Diego County. Kim has been working in the Social Service field for five years and has spoken both locally and nationally at conferences, high schools and college campuses. When asked about her public speaking engagements, Kim says, “I seek to instill a sense of pride and ownership in who we are as a people and encourage social change.”
Edit: We made a correction to the title, which was erroneously “1 in 22 Black Women Will Contract HIV.” It was corrected to “1 in 22 Black People Will Contract HIV”