WASHINGTON, DC – (December 6, 2019) Today, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) released its national HIV/AIDS policy agenda on Black Women’s Health titled The HIV/AIDS Policy Agenda for Black Women. The agenda also features contributions from other leading women’s health organizations, which include the Positive Women’s Network, AIDS United, SisterLove, Inc., and Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases (WORLD), and was developed with the generous support of Gilead Sciences.
Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS since the epidemic’s beginning, and that disparity has deepened over time. While representing only 12 percent of the United States population, Black Americans accounted for almost half (42 percent, or 476,100) of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) – both diagnosed and undiagnosed – and almost half (44 percent) of those diagnosed with HIV in 2016.
“We must continue to raise the health profile of Black women and the specific health-related needs and interests of Black women if we are to ever have a chance of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030,” said Valerie Rochester, Vice President for Program Strategy at AIDS United. “This policy agenda offers unique guidance on how legislators and policy makers can best ensure the needs of Black women are elevated.”
The HIV/AIDS Policy Agenda for Black Women covers several vital issues, which include prevention of future HIV infections and identifying research priorities, access to comprehensive treatment for all Black women living with HIV, and the provision of essential supports, beyond medical treatment, that improve the emotional and physical wellbeing of Black women who are living with HIV. Under each key area, BWHI includes a thorough discussion regarding important policy issues facing Black women today.
“Black women must finally be a priority in policy directed towards the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and one of our goals is to ensure that a spotlight is placed on how to end the epidemic among cis and transgender Black women,” said Linda Goler Blount, President & CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “We are excited to release this first-of-its-kind policy agenda, which offers our nation a framework for addressing some of the health inequities of HIV/AIDS for Black women and girls.”
The policy agenda was unveiled and discussed today during the National Organization of Black Elected Legislators (NOBEL Women) Annual Legislative Breakfast at the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) annual legislative conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“The release of the HIV/AIDS Policy Agenda for Black Women today at our annual breakfast was monumental because our organization aims to remain at the forefront of evaluating, recommending and championing policy and programming solutions that will alleviate economic and health disparities in our communities,” said State Representative Karen Camper (D-TN) and National President of NOBEL Women.
“We commend the Black Women’s Health Imperative for this important work and look forward to collaborating to combat this epidemic in our nation.”
The Black Women’s Health Imperative is a national non-profit organization dedicated to advancing health
equity and social justice for Black women, across the lifespan, through policy, advocacy, education, research and leadership development. The organization identifies the most pressing health issues that affect the nation’s 22 million Black women and girls, like HIV/AIDS, and invests in the best of the best strategies and organizations that accomplish its goals.