Our Chair wisely guided NCNW to adopt Four for the Future – a forward looking platform for growth and change. One of the essential pillars of Four for the Future is protecting the health of our members, their families and communities. As the saying goes, “health is wealth.”
NCNW has formed partnerships with the Black Women’s Health Imperative and the AIDS Health Foundation to address one of the most disturbing health challenges – protecting black women from HIV. According to Dr. Barbara Lee Jackson, Director, Program Design and Implementation at BWHI, we must eliminate the stigma. We can’t protect ourselves until we acknowledge that protection is needed, desired and deserved.
1 in 32 Black women is expected to be infected with HIV in her lifetime. That’s compared to just 1 in 800 White women. Why the big gap? There are several factors, including poverty, lack of access to health services and higher rates of incarceration among Black men, which decreases the number of available partners for Black women.
We must confront and defeat the myths surrounding HIV/AIDS, including:
• HIV and AIDS always result in death
• HIV is only transmitted through sex
• HIV infection is the result of personal irresponsibility that deserves to be punished