"HIV/AIDS is not solely an individual concern. It is a family issue that we can't afford to ignore. It affects not only the person living with the virus, but the entire family and, ultimately, our entire community. This is especially true in California, which has among the highest infection rates of any state in the nation.
"National HIV Testing Day is Monday, a good reminder to turn our attention to the ways HIV/AIDS affects our families as well as our community. ...
"By race and ethnicity, African Americans are severely and disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States, according to the CDC. African Americans represent roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population; however, they account for almost half of people living with HIV as well as nearly half of new infections each year. There is no scientific evidence that demonstrates that African Americans are more susceptible to HIV infection, and efforts to prevent HIV transmission are equally effective in the African-American population as in other populations.
"HIV/AIDS is both preventable and treatable. Early diagnosis and proper care help people with HIV/AIDS live longer and healthier lives and prevent them from spreading the disease. Yet, one in five Americans living with HIV today does not know it.
"The CDC identifies stigma as a major contributor to the spread of HIV.
"To learn more about HIV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov."
The author is medical director of the Concord-based UnitedHealthcare of California. The insurer offers health promotion resources targeting African Americans at www.uhcgenerations.com.