Tinashe, TS Madison Team Up To Discuss HIV/AIDS Prevention

Viiv Healthcare brought a group of luminaries together to speak about the importance of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

We as a community still have a lot of work to do when it comes to eradicating HIV/AIDS.

While overall HIV/AIDS rates have declined, the virus is still disproportionately impacting Black women, and there are multiple reasons why. There’s limited access to sex education, racism experienced in healthcare, Black women are sexualized at young ages, told they are less desirable, and Black women bear stigma when it comes to their sexual desires. In other words, there is a culture of shame that can hold people back.

“It matters for us to show up for Black women,” says Amelia Korangy, director, of external affairs strategy and programs at Viiv Healthcare, an organization at the forefront of closing the gap in care for those disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS in the United States. “Everyone’s got a reason for HIV prevention, they just don’t know it yet. Sex and pleasure is a reason to engage in HIV prevention so you are protected.”

Speaking of stigmas, Dr. Kimberly Smith, head of research and development for Viiv Healthcare noted that many of the HIV-positive women she has encountered during the course of her decades-long career were infected in long-term relationships with men. That isn’t Dr. Smith’s only patient profile and this is not about placing blame on any one group of people, but people often think that being married, or with someone for years means they are exempt and that is not true.

The core point is that people are not having the conversations that need to be had about how to protect themselves. HIV/AIDS prevention starts with education and honesty. That is why Viiv Healthcare, in partnership with Harley & Co, released its Risk to Reasons Guide on March 10, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The unveiling took place at a dinner hosted in New York City last Thursday, featuring discussions about intimacy and overcoming shame. Talks were led by Tinashe, TS Madison, and Marz Lovejoy, who then invited the crowd of attendees to participate right before Dreamville artist Baby Rose blessed the room with a live performance.

The workbooks, which were created by Black women and are available for free, come in three versions: One for personal use, one for use with a partner, and one for use with a healthcare provider. You will write love letters to yourself, explore what makes you feel good, facilitate discussions with your circle of trust, and learn how to find and talk to a provider that makes you feel safe and cared for. Everyone is encouraged to participate because, in the words of Dr. Kim Smith, we want to be “armed with the language that we need to change the game.”

Please use the hashtag #risktoreasons so we can make sure this conversation keeps going and stays connected.

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