Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Due to factors like the immense disparity in healthcare access between black Americans and other groups, the rate of HIV infection for African Americans is approximately eight times higher than for white Americans.
This disparity was present even at the very beginning of the AIDS pandemic, and is very likely part of the reason why the US government’s response to the burgeoning public health crisis was so slow- Ronald Reagan’s administration perceived AIDS as killing primarily three groups: black Haitian immigrants, gay men, and drug users. The racism and homophobia of those involved in delaying official acknowledgement of HIV/AIDS is, in large part, why the disease grew into a global scourge.
It is important to know your status, and everyone should get tested at least once, even if you do not believe that you are in a high-risk category. You can obtain free, fast, oral testing in almost every city; see this link for a means to search for a clinic near you.