AIDS in the United States? Are you serious?
Yes, I’m fully aware about the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the destruction that it has caused and continues to cause. But please do not shun me for bringing up the very point that AIDS is rampant in the United States as well. It is crippling the African American community at alarming rates yet no one wants to realize this. Our own Vice President was unaware of the blatant fact that African American women are the fastest growing sector of the population becoming infected with the HIV virus.
We commonly hear about how expensive AIDS medications are to those in the developing world, but they are equally expensive to millions in this country who lack health benefits. How can we try to solve the problems of the world, including this modern-day plague, yet completely ignore those living with the disease in our own front yard?
It is time that we all take a step and take a careful look to see if our efforts are well concentrated. If so, we might be able to see that in our nations capital in Washington, D.C. where I live, 1 in 20 adults is HIV positive; the virus that causes AIDS, or so it has been said, but that is another story for another day. How can anyone in their right mind completely overlook the fact that everyday someone in the United States will become infected with this incurable disease?
I ask that we realize that in order for this global pandemic to truly be stopped in its tracks we must all do our part and that means understanding that this is all of our problem and that it does not only occur in Africa, but in Washington, D.C., Seattle, the Bronx, and Atlanta.
This one-mindedness that has taken hold of the world will be counter-productive to any prevention efforts currently in place. If people start believing that the problem is solved at home, we will be oblivious to the rising number of infections in our urban centers. We will be unaware of those who cannot afford their HIV medications and who call Philadelphia their home and not South Africa. This must be a collective effort, its time to wake up.
Sumpter is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.