It’s Friday, December 1st, but more importantly, it’s World AIDS Day! More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV but 1 in 7 don’t know they’re infected. Yes, gurl! I know you’ve heard these stats before but let me try to make it a little more personal for you. In 2015, black women made up 11 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. Still not moved to action? That’s 16 times as greater than white women and almost five times greater than Hispanic women.
So if you don’t know your HIV status, imma need you to hustle up and make that appointment with your healthcare provider.
But I’m not here to criticize; I want to motivate you into action. This day is meant to show your support for people living with HIV, commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related conditions and, most importantly unite in the fight against HIV. You can do your part by getting yourself tested. It’s scary, I know boo. It has taken me years to convince some of my most vulnerable patients to get themselves checked. But knowing your status is just as important as identifying next season’s fashion trends. No?
So what’s the plan?
In addition to wearing the awareness ribbon, and hashtaggin’ #HIVTestingDay, I want you to get yourself tested…today. There are many AIDS service organizations teaming up with businesses in your community to provide FREE HIV testing. And please don’t try to play me with that “I’m too busy” excuse. They have a one-minute test available boo-boo. Most tests are painless and you’ll receive your results within minutes. Take the test and really show others how to be a #girlboss.
For more information on World AIDS Day and to find a testing site near you visit HIV.gov
Be honest. Do you know your HIV status? Do you plan on being tested today?
Janelle T. King, MPH, BSN, RN