Five for Life - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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In 2005, black women accounted for more than two-thirds of newly diagnosed HIV cases among women, and black men accounted for half of new diagnoses among U.S. men. Feb. 7, marks the eighth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in which a series of more than 2,300 events will be held nationwide and around the world to educate African Americans on how to protect themselves from contracting and spreading the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented NBHAAD in 1999. Of the activities registered for NBHAAD, the marches are the most visible. Organizers in Los Angeles expect hundreds to attend their sixth annual AIDS rally in South Central. The rally will culminate to form a human billboard depicting an enormous AIDS ribbon. Although there will be AIDS awareness galas, plays, and conferences with appearances by high-profile individuals, including Colin Powell, Creflo Dollar, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Tony Dungy, the majority of events are grassroots efforts that are centered around education, prevention, testing and treatment, and sponsored by local churches, community centers, and clinics. This year there are 400 more events than in 2007. On Feb. 8, Lamont Evans, chief executive officer for Healthy Black Communities Inc., one of the lead organizations for NBHAAD, and organizers will announce their plans to test 1 million individuals by 2009. According to Evans, testing is the catalyst that heightens awareness about prevention of HIV/AIDS.

“HIV/AIDS is affecting the African American community in a way like no other disease at present,” says Dr. Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for minority health at the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Here are five reasons to make getting tested a priority:

  1. It is simple and easy. “If you are scared of needles we have alternatives,” explains Graham. “Saliva can be tested now instead of blood.” Plus, no more waiting; results are available in 20 minutes. Sites such as will explain some of the less invasive tests available.
  2. Knowing is half the battle. Getting tested doesn’t mean a death sentence, offers Graham. It means there is treatment available. “If you don’t know, there might be a time bomb ticking inside of you that can take you out at anytime,” says Evans.
  3. Testing will heighten your awareness about prevention andtransmission. “We have to educate those who are living with HIV/AIDS,” says Evans. “And we have to work on the self-esteem of those who are willing to put the course of their lives at risk for a five minute thrill.”
  4. Protect OUR future. “Young people are our biggest casualty right now,” says Evans. “More young people [in their 20s] are getting opportunistic infections and are in the hospital with pneumonia. In the beginning we lost a lot of black talent. We don’t know how those affected and dying could change the course for black America; and we will never know if we don’t stop this epidemic.”
  5. Silence is not golden; it is deadly, says Graham. The faith-based community has started to fight the stigma behind HIV/AIDS. “If

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    Marcia Wade Talbert

    Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.