Start the Conversation in Observance of World AIDS Day

For the past 25 years, World AIDS Day has commemorated the lives of more than 35 million people who have died from the disease worldwide. Here in the United States, World AIDS Day raises awareness about the epidemic at home, where more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV.

African Americans continue to be the hardest hit by HIV. If Black America were its own country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with HIV — ahead of Ethiopia, Botswana, and Haiti.

The great poet Maya Angelou aptly captured the urgency to address the epidemic when she said:

It's just a devastating dragon breathing flame that burns out whole neighborhoods, whole families.

To fight back, the NAACP and its partner, Gilead Sciences, announced a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to expand the unique program, The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, to reach 30 cities across the U.S. that comprise nearly two-thirds of the nation’s HIV epidemic.

The Black Church is the cornerstone of our community, and faith leaders will be the catalyst for social justice.  The conversation about HIV/AIDS must begin at the pulpit and reach the pew to underscore the prevalence of this disease. We have new tools and resources available to engage our community. The NAACP’s initiative, The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, draws upon the institutions already established in the community, using the power of the church in Black communities to fight the HIV epidemic.

The NAACP and pastors across the country have started the fight. One conversation at a time, we are changing the story of HIV in the Black community. Let’s observe World AIDS Day by having that conversation today. End the social injustices, combat the HIV epidemic and ensure that future generations of Black Americans grow up HIV-free.