At the end of the year it is important to remember all the achievements and problems facing the Black community. HIV/AIDS in the Black community has had a great impact on us in 2016.
HIV/AIDS is only 35 years old, but it feels as if we’ve been living under the shadow of the disease much longer. The plague devastated the gay community in the 1980s and is now making headlines for its exacting toll on the Black community. Today, approximately 500,000 African-Americans live with the infection and in 2014 made up 44 percent of estimated new diagnoses in the United States, according to Ebony. The following timeline notes the history of HIV/AIDS and the impact it has had on the Black community.
First Published Report of a Mysterious Illness
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases a report on rare, immune-suppressing lung infections in five previously healthy gay men.
• Researchers begin calling the condition Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID), with 270 cases of severe immune deficiency among gay men.
• The term “AIDS” (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is coined by the CDC.
• The CDC reports cases of AIDS in female partners of men with AIDS and in children.
• The CDC states that most AIDS cases have been reported among homosexual men, intravenous drug users, Haitians, and hemophiliacs.
• The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is established as the cause of AIDS.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licenses ELISA, the first commercial blood test to detect HIV.
• The CDC reports HIV/ AIDS disproportionately affects African-Americans and Latinos. Black and Hispanic children comprise 90 percent of perinatal AIDS cases.
The link btwn high incarceration rates in the African American community and HIV/AIDS death rates among black women.https://t.co/CXFyQ44ACh
— InstituteAdvancedMed (@InstAdvancedMed) December 15, 2015
• The FDA approves AZT, the first antiretroviral drug; Congress approves $30 million in emergency funding to states for AZT.
• The Black Coalition of AIDS is founded.
Magic Johnson Announces He is HIV Positive
• The FDA approves an oral HIV test the first nonblood-based antibody test.
• 500,000 cases of AIDS have been reported in the United States, with 174,715 of the cases among Blacks.
• The FDA approves the first HIV home-testing kit, called Confide.
• AIDS is no longer the leading cause of death for people in the United States ages 25-44 but remains the leading cause of death for African-Americans.
• Blacks now account for49 percent of U.S. AIDS-related deaths.
• Congress funds the Minority AIDS Initiative, and $156 million is invested to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in the Black community.
• The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) requests that HIV/AIDS be declared a state of emergency in the Black community.
— Aunt Rita (@auntritas) November 3, 2016
• Nelson Mandela’s son Makgatho Mandela dies of an AIDS-related illness.
• The Black AIDS Institute releases a report, Left Behind—Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic, which challenges the government to step up HIV/ AIDS prevention, testing and treatment in Black communities.
• The Obama administration unveils the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, a five-year plan to address the domestic HIV epidemic.
• Although the number of new AIDS cases decreases in Washington, D.C., cases of HIV infections among Black women increase in the district from 6.3 percent to 121 percent according to a health department study.
• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces it will begin an HIV trial in South Africa, the largest HIV vaccine trial since 2009.
— theGrio.com (@theGrio) December 1, 2016
There is hope
There’s still no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, and although a groundbreaking trial to test a possible cure showed no signs of the virus following treatment, researchers and physicians concede there is still a long way to go to eradicate the scourge. As we wait for the cure that will eventually wipe out HIV/AIDS, we should praise the advances in prevention and treatment of the disease that are available today.
Other than using condoms, having less-risky sex, not injecting drugs and getting tested regularly, here are other ways to prevent HIV: Pep-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)—An emergency medication for HIV-negative
people that helps prevent infection 36 to 72 hours after potential exposure to the virus. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—Reduces the chances of becoming infected by a sexual or drug using partner.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) —recommended for HIV patients to reduce illnesses. Patients can take a single pill every day to manage the disease now that there are more than two dozen ART drugs.