David Johns on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

David Johns says the conversations we need to have about HIV/AIDS starts with acknowledgment.

“I want to acknowledge that it is often not easy to have conversations about HIV,” he stated. “The important thing is for us to start talking to stop HIV.”

February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDs Awareness Day and Johns said it allows us to talk about the disproportionate impact that HIV/AIDS have on the African American community.

“The CDC said years ago that one in every two Black men who have sex with men are likely to become HIV positive,” he stated. “Second after Black men who have sex with men, the problematic category that the CDC uses to describe those of us who are most impacted by HIV/AIDS, are Black straight women, and we don’t have conversations about why.”

Johns says in order to reduce these statistics there are several measures that can be taken. The first is prevention via medications like PrEP and PEP, which reduce the likelihood of becoming exposed to the virus. The second is exemplifying the individuals who are living with the virus and suppressing their viral load such that they cannot transmit to their partner, and showing that they are living happy lives. He also urges using language that is encouraging rather than stigmatizing when talking about the virus.

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