We mark an anniversary this week that no one wants to celebrate.
It has been 30 years since scientists identified HIV or human immunodeficiency virus as the cause of AIDS.
In that time, we have all lived in fear of catching it, living with it, being stigmatized by it, and then dying from it.
I, like many others hearing or reading these words, remember the early 1980’s when people, mostly gay men, were getting sick and dying from a mysterious flu-like ailment.
Medical experts were perplexed.
The average person was even more flummoxed.
It was 1984.
I was a senior in high school.
One month before my graduation, April 23rd, the discovery was made and announced at a press conference by the then Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heclker alongside scientist Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute.
Before researchers figured out that it was HIV that caused AIDS gay men were demonized, feared, and ostracized.
It remained that way for quite some time after, maybe even to this day.
It wasn’t until HIV and AIDS began to show up in straight people that the stigma began to subside.
It wasn’t until people like Magic Johnson revealed their HIV positive status that others began to realize that it wasn’t just a gay disease and more importantly that it shouldn’t have to be a death sentence for anyone.
But 30 years later some people still aren’t getting the message.
Some young people who didn’t live through those frightening days aren’t getting it.
Some of them aren’t having safe sex.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than half of all undiagnosed HIV infections are youth ages 13 to 24.
The other group of people who isn’t getting it is African Americans.
According to the CDC African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV.
The rate of new HIV infection in African Americans is 8 times that of whites based on population size.
If Black America were its own country, it would rank 16th in the world for new HIV infections.
Many of us did not learn from Magic, a black man who was one of the first to be honest with himself and the world.
The Tom Joyner Foundation raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to fund HIV and AIDS awareness.
On this show and others he promotes knowing your HIV status.
It’s time we follow Tom and Magic’s lead.
So on this solemn anniversary there is no more fitting way to mark it than by getting tested this week.
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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Continue reading DON LEMON: Somber Anniversary – HIV Turns 30