February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a mobilization initiative targeting African Americans in the United States. On this day, we must remember the people we have lost to this disease and commit ourselves to empowering our community through education and treatment. It is also a day to pay tribute to the survivors and to those fighting every day to end the epidemic. Like millions of Americans, I’ve been personally affected, losing friends and loved ones. This epidemic has hit the African American community particularly hard, with African Americans accounting for more than half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses.
In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, which bars insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more for anyone who has a pre-existing condition, like HIV/AIDS. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act will ensure that Medicaid coverage is available to all low-income Americans. As a result, low-income adults living with HIV will no longer have to wait for an AIDS diagnosis to become eligible for coverage. The Affordable Care Act also gradually closes the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug benefits, giving people with Medicare who live with HIV/AIDS more resources to pay for life-saving medications. President Obama and Democrats are committed to increasing access to care and improving health care outcomes for those living with HIV/AIDS.
All of these measures will make a huge difference, but we must stand together and get involved in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. Testing is at the core of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Today and every day, help spread the world about HIV prevention, and more important, know your status. Share information with friends and family to get educated on the facts, get tested, and get involved in combatting this epidemic.
Find out more about the National HIV/AIDS Strategy here.