Launched in 1999, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is now in its 18th year of spreading knowledge regarding HIV and AIDS, which includes testing, prevention and treatment procedures associated with both diseases, and how they affect the Black community.
In honor of NBHAAD, David Johns, the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), stopped by The Breakfast Club. “We often don’t have the language, we don’t create the space, so I want to thank you for creating space to talk about it,” he said. During their conversation, Johns also discussed fighting the stigma attached to contracting HIV/AIDs, the lack of proper conversations regarding HIV/AIDS being had in Black community, and the preventative drug PrEP.
On fighting the stigma attached to living with HIV: “It can be managed. It is possible to live with HIV. What we have to move away from is the stigma that came when the epidemic was first introduced. There are so many people living with HIV, who are actually thriving with it. It is so possible to do that.”
On the lack of proper conversations regarding sex: “We also live in a culture that is very hypersexual. We see sex everywhere. It’s in every movie. It’s in every book. Kids are introduced to it by the time they are reading Shakespeare in high school, but we don’t have actual conversations about sex, and we definitely don’t have conversations about sexual health and wellness when it comes to people who are not heterosexual.”
On the preventative drug PrEP: “There is a drug that exists now called PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). PrEP is a drug that if you take it every day as a part of a regimen, there is a 99% guarantee that you will not contract HIV/AIDS. It reduces significantly the chances of HIV.”
On Magic Johnson’s battle with HIV : “Magic has the resources that the vast majority of us don’t have, which means he had access to the drugs that are now available before a lot of other people. In addition to the drugs, he also had access to people that could help him monitor what he ate. He’s an athlete, so a lot of this is also about being physical.”