ATLANTA — More than 30,000 people in metro Atlanta are living with HIV or AIDs every day. The numbers disproportionately impact Black and brown communities, data shows.
On Tuesday, the nation paused to acknowledge the disparities in care on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The latest numbers show 40 to 50 percent of all new HIV diagnoses are in Black Americans. Georgia continuously ranks in the top three for new diagnoses.
Imara Canady with the AID Healthcare Foundation said national days of awareness helps to recognize and elevate the work that still needs to be done.
"It is understanding that there is still work to do in this community. It is understanding that -- just to say, 'Well, I'm not going to deal with it. It'll go away. Well, it's not going away,'" Canady said.
Canady said with people not acknowledging the illness or getting tested only helps spread it.
"We are continuing to see more and more Black Americans and Black Georgians and Black Atlantans be impacted by a diagnosis of HIV and AIDS," Canady said.
Canady added destigmatizing HIV could have a profound impact on preventing more diagnoses. Using protection and getting tested and having access to ongoing care can make all the difference.
"So the first responsibility is yours to get tested and know your status. The second responsibility is ours. If we find that through being tested, you test positive for HIV. For us to work with you to get you linked to care," Canady said.
Canady explained their commitment is to connect people to care in no more than 72 business hours when someone finds out they're positive.
"Our further commitment is to stay with you in the journey to make sure that you can stay in care," Canady said. "And the part of that that I am really the proudest of, the work that we do is that we do not allow financial challenges or your financial inability to pay to keep you out of the life-saving quality care that every human being on this globe deserves."
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