This day commemorates those who have died from AIDS complications while creating an awareness of HIV and those living with HIV/AIDS.
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. While African-Americans make up a mere 13 percent of the overall U.S. population, we account for almost half of all HIV infections that are diagnosed each year. Men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexual women and young people are disproportionately impacted by the epidemic in our community. But don’t forget that heterosexual men and seniors are also at risk.
It’s also important to know that while African-Americans are more likely to get tested for HIV, we are still more likely to be diagnosed with HIV and AIDS at the same time than any other racial group, meaning we wait until we are already really sick to get tested.
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 will provide you with up-to-date information and news about treatment, prevention and HIV/AIDS resources to better educate you about this epidemic.
For more information on HIV, AIDS and World AIDS Day, please visit BET.com.
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(Photo: Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal/LANDOV)