The department of health in Massachusetts has announced that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women in the state. It was also found that more than half of all AIDS cases there consist of black women specifically — most of whom became infected by their intimate partners. Dr. Bela Bashar, a clinical director of HIV services in the state, told a local Boston news station:
“Really a lot of women, African-American women, don’t really know what their partners are doing or their partners are keeping certain aspects of their life shielded from their female partners. [...]
If a person who doesn’t know they’re infected, who is completely asymptomatic, which a lot of people are in the early stages of disease, they may go about with their regular behaviors,” said Bashar. “They’re putting tremendous amount of risk to the general public.”
And of course, also betraying someone’s trust during one of life’s most vulnerable moments. A startling 60% of HIV-positive black women in Massachusetts caught the disease from partners who either did not know their HIV status, or knew but failed to inform them. Comparatively, the leading factor for HIV infection for white women is IV drugs.
This revelation underscores how important it is for black women to insist that their partners use condoms. Recently Will.i.am called women who keep condoms at home “tacky.” Is he trying to get people killed? Clearly, such women are powerfully self-protective and intelligent.
African-American women are being affected in legions by AIDS, contracting HIV at a rate only second to that of black men. Because of this, it is important that we take control of our health by using condoms every time we are intimate with the opposite sex, regardless of what other people think. No amount of social or sexual pressure is worth your life.
Women, do you use protection every time? If not, why?