“The rightful and urgent attention to the health of women, especially their increasing vulnerability and infection rate with regards to HIV/AIDS and STDs, as well as a host of other diseases plaguing Black women and Black people, is now. Thus, our approach to the HIV/AIDS crisis must be to engage it as a family affair, a problem, a challenge, and way forward. And if it is to be real and relevant, ethical, and effective, then we must see and assert ourselves as sources of service, support, and sanctuary in this vital and ultimately victorious struggle.” said Dr. Karenga.
By Elizabeth Harris
I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center (ICL) collaborated with the African American Cultural Center for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The theme of the conversation and panel discussion was, “Reintroducing Our National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Returning the Conversation to the Community.
Panelists included Tony Wafford, President/CEO of ICL, as well as a member of the Centers for Disease Control’s Partnering and Communicating Together to Act Against AIDS (PACT) project; Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at California State University-Long Beach, Executive Director of the Kawaida Institute of Pan-African Studies, Los Angeles, and National Chairman of The Organization Us, a cultural and social change organization. Dr. Karenga is most widely known as the creator of the Pan African holiday Kwanzaa; Dr. Erica C. Byrd, Senior Minister/Co-founder of KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science and Ms. Precious A. Jackson, Founder/CEO of Lady P Productions, as well as a person living with HIV.
Every year on March 10th and throughout the month of March, local, state, federal, and national organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) sheds light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. This year marks the 13th annual observance.
“Tremendous progress against HIV and AIDS in the U.S has been made; but women remain vulnerable to infection especially African-American and Hispanic women.” said Tony. Any woman who has sex can get HIV, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. Currently, there are 1.1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV, and nearly a quarter of them are women (23%).
The 2018 NWGHAAD theme, “HIV Prevention Starts with Me,” emphasizes the role that everyone; women, men, community organizations, health care professionals, those who are HIV-negative, and those who are HIV-positive plays in HIV prevention.
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Doing It is a new national HIV testing and prevention campaign designed to motivate all adults to get tested for HIV and know their status. As part of the Act Against AIDS initiative, Doing It delivers the message that HIV testing should be a part of everyone’s regular health routine to keep ourselves and our community healthy. He’s doing it. She’s doing it. We’re doing it. YOU should be doing it, too.