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Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol cover the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010)
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Finding Our Voices, Claiming Our Power

August 23, 2010

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Untying Our Tongues

Whether overseas or in the United States, publicly or in our bedrooms, the AIDS epidemic requires us to step beyond our comfort zones. We must be braver than we've been before; we must locate our most powerful voice. Black people in particular must start expressing the previously unspeakable, communicating about subjects we've never discussed before and advocating for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. Each of us must find the courage to ask:

  • Is this a monogamous relationship?
  • Do you know your HIV status?
  • When can I see your HIV-test results?
  • Why don't we use a condom?
  • Father, mother, uncle, auntie, sister, brother, have you spoken explicitly to your son, daughter, friend, other loved one, about the steps they must take to avoid becoming infected -- and are you engaging in those behaviors as well?
  • Leader, what actions are you taking to help end this epidemic?

If my Vienna experience taught me anything, it taught me this: As our community finds its collective voice, the world will treat us with the respect we deserve, and we will end this curse upon Black communities. In the process our offspring will witness our courage, empowering them to conquer the plights they will face during their lifetimes. At that point, people like me will step from the spotlight and return to our work in the background. But not until then.

Hilary Beard is a Philadelphia-based freelance health writer and editor and the editor-in-chief of the Black AIDS Weekly.

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This article was provided by The Black AIDS Institute. It is a part of the publication Black AIDS Weekly. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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