We Need to be More Strongly Committed to Ending AIDS

We need to do more to fight AIDS in America.

On July 23, at the 19th annual International AIDS Conference, held in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration is committed to creating an "AIDS-free generation."

But we're a long way from that here at home - especially in the black community.

African Americans represent half of all new HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. And if black America were a country, it would have the 16th-highest HIV/AIDS epidemic rate in the world.

The biggest obstacle is the myth that AIDS is cured.

"No, I'm not cured. I'm taking my medicine the way I'm supposed to," Magic Johnson said on the recent PBS documentary, "Endgame: AIDS in Black America."

People with AIDS need to keep taking their medicine, as Johnson suggests. But even if you are taking HIV/AIDS meds, that doesn't give you license to have unprotected sex. We all need to know our status, get tested, get treated, practice safe sex, avoid dirty needles and stay informed. And at the policy level, our government can do more to educate the public about the risks of AIDS, which are still grave.

Now is no time for complacency. Only with knowledge, prevention, education and medicine will the AIDS-free generation be in sight.