It’s Time To End Race Disparities in HIV

By MISTR Staff

The HIV/AIDS crisis has been a decades long battle for the LGBTQ+ community. Many have lost people they love and while HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was, that does not change the fact that resources and education around HIV still need improvement for the most marginalized communities amongst us.  

While we have made progress, HIV still disproportionately affects Black people. Longstanding systemic inequality and socioeconomic barriers are a large part of the reason that Black and African American communities remain one of the communities hardest hit by HIV/AIDS. 

According to the Center For Disease Control, 40 percent of new HIV infections occur amongst Black people in the United States. A staggering number considering that Black people on make up about 12.1% of the population. While overall HIV infections have declined over the last several years, they have remained mostly stable for Black communities.  

Of all new HIV infections in the Black community, three quarters of them Black men and 82% of those are from male-to-male sexual contact. Black men are also less likely to use PrEP (PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS) and be virally suppressed for HIV compared to gay and bisexual men overall.  

In order to defeat HIV, we must increase access to free PrEP and STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing to communities most impacted by it. We must fight hard for health equity by providing resources and education in the areas and communities that are missing it. These barriers have held us back for far too long and need to be broken down. Free PrEP and adequate testing focused on communities in need are going to be crucial to our goal of an HIV/AIDS free world.