The Most Influential HIV/AIDS Moments in Black History

From politics to pop culture, a look back at Black HIV news.

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The Past, Present and Future - When the HIV/AIDS epidemic first hit in 1981, the face of AIDS was white and gay.  But over time, this epidemic morphed into one that was disproportionately Black. From politics to pop culture to research, read about some of the most influential HIV/AIDS moments in our history. — Kellee Terrell (@kelleent) (Photo: Roger A. Wollenberger/ POOL /LANDOV)

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Magic Johnson Coming Out as HIV-Positive - The world stopped for a few minutes when LA Lakers' Earvin “Magic” Johnson told the world in a press conference that he had tested positive for HIV. It was one of the first times that a famous straight Black man had disclosed his status publicly and had contracted it from heterosexual sex.    (Photo: Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama Signing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy - Many people do not know that President Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to create a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. In 2010, he created this federal initiative with the goal to reduce new HIV infections by 25 percent by the year 2015. He also started a gender, violence and HIV initiative in 2012. (Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

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President Obama Signing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy - Many people do not know that President Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to create a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. In 2010, he created this federal initiative with the goal to reduce new HIV infections by 25 percent by the year 2015. He also started a gender, violence and HIV initiative in 2012. (Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Salt-N-Pepa ?Let?s Talk About Sex? - The same year Magic disclosed, this rap trio was spitting knowledge about stigma and safe sex with their song "Let?s Talk About Sex.? Salt N? Pepa later remixed their popular hit to ?Let?s Talk About AIDS? to further break down how HIV is transmitted and the importance of condom negotiation. (Photo: Next Plateau Records)

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Salt-N-Pepa “Let’s Talk About Sex” - The same year Magic disclosed, this rap trio was spitting knowledge about stigma and safe sex with their song "Let’s Talk About Sex.” Salt N’ Pepa later remixed their popular hit to “Let’s Talk About AIDS” to further break down how HIV is transmitted and the importance of condom negotiation. (Photo: Next Plateau Records)

Rae Lewis Thornton on the Cover of Essence Magazine - In 1994, the media was slow to show how AIDS impacted Black America. But that didn?t stop Essence Magazine, who, 20 years ago, put Rae Lewis Thornton on its cover ? an all-time first in publishing. That bold move made Black America pay attention to this story of how a well-educated woman with AIDS forever changed the face of this epidemic. (Photo: Essence)

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Rae Lewis Thornton on the Cover of Essence Magazine - In 1994, the media was slow to show how AIDS impacted Black America. But that didn’t stop Essence Magazine, who, 20 years ago, put Rae Lewis Thornton on its cover — an all-time first in publishing. That bold move made Black America pay attention to this story of how a well-educated woman with AIDS forever changed the face of this epidemic. (Photo: Essence)

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Poetic Justice: "Get It Up," TLC  - Before they became one of the biggest girl groups of all time a young TLC landed a smash hit "Get It Up" from the soundtrack to the 1993 film Poetic Justice. (Photo: Epic Records)

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TLC and Condom Fashion - In the early ‘90s, girl group TLC used their fashion sense to raise awareness about safe sex, dating and HIV (Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes even wore a condom over her eye). From megahits "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" to “Waterfalls,” Left Eye, Chilli and T-Boz made empowering young folks to make smarter decisions about sex a priority. (Photo: Epic Records)

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Eazy-E’s Death - The world of “gangsta rap” was shook when N.W.A. frontman Eazy-E died of complications of AIDS in 1994. At that time (and even now) hip hop was shrouded with hypermasculinity and homophobia. Eazy’s unexpected diagnosis and death forced folks to reevaluate who could be HIV-positive.  (Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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Pop Culture's Obsession With the Down-Low - What started out as a controversial New York Times article about closeted bisexual Black men somehow blew up into the widely accepted “Down-Low” myth that was perpetuated in all facets of our media. Sadly, even though research confirms that the DL is not fueling AIDS among Black women, many of us still believe it to be true. (Photo: Lionsgate Films, Tyler Perry Productions)

HIV/AIDS - Black men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender folks are at an increased at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. Young MSM have some of the highest HIV rates in the U.S., making up 27 percent of all new HIV infections among Americans. Also, according to the CDC, Black transgender women have the highest HIV diagnosis among all trans women.  (Photo: REUTERS /MIKE SEGAR /LANDOV)

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HIV Rates Go Down for Black Women, While MSM Rates Go Up - In 2012, one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study served some encouraging news. Good news: Between 2008 and 2010, HIV rates among Black women had gone down 21 percent. But among men who have sex with men (MSM), infection rates were up 22 percent and young Black MSM made up 55 percent of new infections among young gay men. (Photo: Mike Segar/REuters)

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Mississippi Baby “Cured” From HIV/AIDS, But Not Really - In 2013, the media broke some interesting HIV-related news. For the first time, a baby born with HIV was “cured” of the virus without taking AIDS meds for the recommended time after birth. But last winter, it was confirmed that she had relapsed, and tested positive for HIV which was "devestating" for the researchers working with her. (Photo: Johns Hopkins Medicine/AP Photo)