The National Medical Association issues an Urgent Call to Action to End HIV Disease and AIDS in the African American Community today World AIDS Day December 1st, 2014 and every day that follows until HIV/AIDS is a rare occurrence in African American communities. We commit all of our African American physicians and Call to Action each and every one of you to make this commitment with us to end the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the African American Community.
We ask you to join us in saving the lives of those most devastated by HIV/AIDS in our community: Black Gay Men; Black Women and Black Youth. This loss of life needs to cease right now! Today! We can make this happen. We must make this happen.
We must ensure that all African Americans are tested for HIV immediately. We must ensure that all of those who test positive for HIV are rapidly connected to physicians for quality HIV/AIDS care and treatment immediately. We must ensure that HIV/AIDS prevention services targeted to African American women, African American gay and bisexual men and African American youth are aggressively expanded and coupled with HIV testing. We must ensure that every African American in the United States commits to our Call to Action.
We call on our allies in Federal, State and local governments to join us today and ensure the successful implementation and evaluation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Every day lost means more HIV infections and AIDS deaths in African American communities in the wealthiest nation on earth. HIV disease continues to devastate our communities. We face the most severe burden from HIV. African American women account for 13% of all new HIV infections and nearly 64% of all new infections among women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 32 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV during their life time.
African American men account for 70% of all new HIV infections within our community. African American gay and bisexual men comprise 73% of new infections among African American men. CDC estimates that 1 in 16 African American men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
HIV/AIDS is a preventable disease, yet the statistics within the African American community are horrifying. American culture has perfected normalizing disparities of all types. Homelessness, violence, poverty and inferior health care are four human tragedies we Americans allow ourselves to ignore the most. There is no rationale, no excuse which can justify a wealthy, civilized nation permitting these inhumane conditions to persist. AIDS is intertwined in all of these conditions.
Because of advances in HIV/AIDS care and treatment and a reduction in the brutal deaths that were the harsh reality of the 1980s, we are now complacent about HIV/AIDS. This is totally unacceptable. Since the burden of HIV disease and AIDS is now within the African American Gay community and among African American women, we have somehow closed our eyes to this tragedy. To quote Hillary Clinton, “If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country….” For decades Phill Wilson, President & CEO of the Black AIDS Institute has sounded this alarm that “our house is on fire!”
Our best hope lies with African American physicians being strongly united in our fight to end the AIDS epidemic in African American communities. Today we lead this Urgent Call to Action. President Obama has led the way with our very first National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Now we must truly have the will to end AIDS in America. Our failure to do so will cost more African American lives —- in fact, more lives of all people in America. Increased testing, ensuring connection to care, and expanding prevention services can end the AIDS epidemic. Join us!
National Medical Association Mission: To advance the art and science of medicine for people of African descent through education, advocacy, and health policy to promote health and wellness, eliminate health disparities, and sustain physician viability. For more information visit www.nmanet.org.