The color of your skin should not determine the quality of your health. But in the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is exacerbated by racism, bias, and discrimination. As America continues its long-overdue reckoning with racism and systemic injustice, we must address the devastating impact of the disease on the Black community. An end to the AIDS epidemic can only be achieved through dignity, respect, love, and compassion for all.
The 2020 International AIDS Conference—the world’s premier event to showcase advances, highlight challenges, and galvanize collaboration against AIDS—was scheduled to return on July 6 to San Francisco and Oakland, California, where it was held 30 years ago at the height of the epidemic. COVID-19 has forced the conference to go virtual, but it remains a key part of the effort to end AIDS.
Over the past three decades, America has made impressive strides toward that goal. U.S. government initiatives have mobilized resources and attention, from the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990 to last year’s Ending the HIV Epidemic plan for reducing transmission by 90 percent by 2030. Preventative-treatment breakthroughs such as PrEP and supervised injection sites have reduced the likelihood of transmission. Innovations such as oral swabs have made testing easier, more effective, and more accessible. Antiretroviral treatments continue to improve, so that HIV infection is no longer a death sentence, but a manageable condition.