By Sha’Terra Johnson, HIV Health Planner
Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on August 20 is a chance for the South to join the national movement to raise awareness, address stigma and discrimination, and advocate for the resources needed to end the HIV epidemic.
As much as I love everything about the South, there are challenges that we face when it comes to healthcare as well as HIV. We have to come together as state to find ways to end the HIV epidemic.
So, how do we come together to end the HIV epidemic in Texas?
We have the Achieving Together Plan. The statewide plan has goals and strategies for us as a state. We have the tools and resources to end HIV in Texas. Take the pledge to be a member—to be an action-oriented individual when it comes to ending HIV in the great state of Texas.
Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness is a day set aside for individuals all over the nation to join a movement to raise awareness, erase HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination, and to advocate for new and necessary resources and solutions to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS in the South. Centers for Disease Control Prevention states that more than 511,400 people are living with HIV (PLWH) in the South. Roughly one-fifth of PLWH in the South are living in Texas. It also shares that 52% of all new diagnoses are in the South, and there were approximately 2,580 deaths related to AIDS complications in the South in 2017. People living with HIV in the South are faced with stigma and discrimination that often results in lack of access to high-quality health care and essential support services. It is important we join together to develop solutions to reduce disparities and stigma of PLWH and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic occurring in the South.