Addressing Stigma on National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day
February 7, 2018 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. #NBHAAD was founded in 1999 as a national response to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in African American communities. The four key focus areas encourage people to get educated about HIV/AIDS, get involved in community prevention efforts, get tested to know their status, and get treated to receive the continuum of care needed to live with HIV/AIDs.
The Rev. Michael J. Crumpler, UUA LGBTQ Intercultural Programs Manager offered this reflection to The Root for World AIDS Day:
“Stigma is the greatest obstacle to ending HIV and AIDS in the black community. Black people feel stigmatized enough just by being black in a white supremacy culture. The thought of testing HIV positive is not only dreadful as a health risk, but the social risk seems insurmountable. In a subculture that is stratified by one’s relationship to the state, HIV and AIDS is a trapdoor to the bottom tier of the black social order. Whether we be pastors, doctors, lawyers or teachers, the stain of HIV and AIDS seems to rob black people of the dignity and the respect that is otherwise due us.
“Reducing the stigma, by normalizing the experience of testing positive and managing HIV health and wellness, will repeal the guilt, fear and shame. As such, the one thing that we can concentrate on in ending HIV and AIDS is to center the experience of HIV-positive black people and share the stories of black people who are living and thriving with HIV and AIDS. In so doing, we will build solidarity amongst ourselves and restore the dignity of those among us for whom HIV and AIDS is still a death sentence.”
Originally used on The Root: "On This World AIDS Day, Where Do We Go From Here?"