December 1st, World AIDS Day (WAD), is a day to celebrate the lives needlessly lost to the HIV epidemic, to spread awareness of available HIV prevention and treatment, and to redouble our efforts to end the HIV epidemic globally.
This year, on WAD, I had the opportunity to speak with one of our local news stations here in NYC about the tools we have to end the HIV epidemic and how stigma remains a significant barrier.
In addition to stigma, racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia continue to contribute to stark inequities in HIV diagnoses.
In NYC, 88% of cis and trans women diagnosed in 2020 were Black and/or Latina and 80% of cis and trans men newly diagnosed in 2020 were Black and/or Latino. Sixty percent of men diagnosed in 2002 were MSM, and of MSM; 80% of newly diagnosed MSM were Black and/or Latino. There is substantial work still to do to the epidemic and this reality hung heavy on my heart as I walked to my HIV clinic that same afternoon, yet, it reminded me of why the work of organizations such as Health Justice is greatly needed.