Observed on Dec. 1 each year, World AIDS Day is the first international health day. It was created in 1988 to commemorate those who have died from AIDS complications while creating an awareness of HIV and those living with HIV/AIDS. It is a day to highlight the advances that have been made in the area of HIV treatment and understanding. While the theme differs from year to year, those who celebrate the day show their support by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.
This year's theme "Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS-Related Deaths" is extremely relevant to the African-American community. AIDS is the number-one killer of Black women ages 24 to 35. Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have the highest HIV rate among all racial groups of MSM. Overall, while African-Americans make up a mere 14 percent of the overall U.S. population, we account for almost half of all HIV infections that are diagnosed each year. And to make matters worse, we are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV and AIDS at the same time than any other racial group, meaning we wait to get tested until we are already really sick.
But this doesn't have to be our destiny.
Knowledge is the key. So for the entire month of December, BET.com and the Rap it Up Campaign are teaming up with TheBody.com, the Black AIDS Institute and Housing Works to provide you with up-to-date information and news about treatment, prevention and HIV/AIDS resources to better educate you about this epidemic.
BET Health News — We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world.
(Photo: Jayanta Dey/Reuters)