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. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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Continue reading DON LEMON: Somber Anniversary – HIV Turns 30