Knowledge key to keeping HIV and AIDS from spreading

It is AIDS Awareness week.

Sadly, it seems, blacks are not aware that this disease is affecting them in disproportionate numbers.

The Center for Disease Control’s 2002 estimates show that 50 percent of newly HIV infected men are black. The number for black women is even higher-64 percent.

According to the Florida Department of Health, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among black men between the ages of 25 to 44.

Black Americans cannot continue to behave as though AIDS doesn’t affect them. AIDS is not a white disease. It is not a gay disease. It is a human disease. HIV and AIDS affects everyone who engages in sexual activity. It also affects the families and friends of those people.

If blacks continue to dismiss AIDS as something that cannot happen to them, the disease will slowly unravel the quilt that is the black community.

Black mothers, fathers and children are dying of AIDS. Children of infected parents are becoming orphans. The youth of black America is filling up cemeteries.

The future of black America is dying off, victims to a disease that is preventable.

Make it a point to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Demand that your sex partners are tested and are aware of their status. Do not use money, fear or lack of health care coverage as an excuse to remain oblivious. There are community clinics that offer free testing.

Do not engage in promiscuous sexual activity, and if you do, use condoms. Better yet, abstinence is the best protection.

Black Americans must not allow unprotected sex and a lack of knowledge to plague their community.

Kanya Simon and Augustine Rho for The Famuan.