Johneri’O Scott was 24-years-old when he found out he was HIV positive. He thought it was a death sentence.
“I knew nothing about it before I was diagnosed,” he said. “I thought my life was over before it really even started.”
He represents a large group of Black people that know little to nothing about AIDS/HIV.
The CDC reports 1 in 7 African Americans living with HIV are unaware of their diagnosis. Without knowing they have HIV, they cannot take advantage of the treatments that can lead to viral suppression and prevent them from unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.
Data also show that African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV. Although they represent only 13% of the US population, they account for 43% of all new HIV diagnoses.
- Among all women diagnosed with HIV in the US, African American women account for 59% of new HIV diagnoses.
- African American gay and bisexual men represent 37% of all new HIV cases .
- New HIV cases are steadily rising specifically amongst African American millennials ages 24-35.
What is HIV?
According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease, Control, and Prevention, around 36.7 million people are living with HIV around the world. While there have been many advancements in the management of the HIV virus throughout the years, unfortunately, a lot of misinformation still exists about what it means to live with HIV. First identified in 1981, HIV is the cause of one of humanity’s deadliest and most persistent epidemics.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection. There’s no cure, but it is treatable with medicine.
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. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment.
If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
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.