Black Women and HIV

Folks were shocked when Charlie Sheen confirmed his HIV status. I don’t know why. HIV/AIDS is still wrecking havoc in this country, despite the diminished attention given to the issue over the years. Women of color, Black women in particular, are the majority of new HIV cases. Yet, their plight has been virtually ignored in mainstream media.

“Every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in this country.  Yet the impact of HIV among Black women and girls is even more startling.  Nationally, Black women account for 66% of new cases of HIV among women.  HIV/AIDS related illness is now the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34. As the national dialogue focuses on strategies for addressing the HIV epidemic in this country, the need is greater than ever for a heightened among Black women in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care.”

A lot of these cases tend to be attributed to heterosexual relationships. It has been argued, due to our patriarchal society, women tend to be pressured to bend to the sexual whims of men and/or forgive infidelity, numerous sex partners, etc.  This imbalance of power in intimate/sexual relationships between men and women make women more vulnerable to getting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Alice Keys has been one of the few celebrities who continues to put a spotlight on the experiences of women/women of color living with HIV.