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Living With HIV & AIDS

Revolutionizing HIV Care: The Black AIDS Institute’s Mission to Sterilize Stigma in the Black Community

In its 25th year, the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) tackles the disproportionate impact of HIV in the Black community through education, advocacy, and love.

What is BAI’s mission?

Acknowledging that health is an entitlement anchored in social justice, BAI is working to revolutionize the HIV response in Black America — intergeneration-ally. This is the cornerstone of all Black cultures. Paramount to this task is centering Black women and stigma sterilization. 

How does the Black AIDS Institute aim to eliminate the stigma around HIV?

We think of stigma as just one thing, but stigma is shame and fear. In our community, fear and shame lead to poor outcomes. When we say sterilizing, we mean we’re going to remove the fear, we’re going to remove shame, and constantly inform. With that information, we use culturally appropriate messages.

There are certain words and ways that we can use that will resonate and stick with different people from different places, and that’s the third component: spreading the correct and culturally appropriate information. We really have to look at the history of HIV, and how a lack of messaging laid the foundation for the fear and stigma in the Black community.


What can be done to reverse rates of HIV in Black Americans, particularly Black women? 

Today, HIV is a cyclical virus, except in Black communities. White gay men in the United States will be virally suppressed before the government target date of 2030. We have the biomedical interventions. The question is this: How are HIV prevention and care modalities communicated to Black women?

This is not a question to be provocative or to throw a flame. It is simply to illustrate that if Black women in our communities are not informed and educated, we cannot expect to have positive and sustainable outcomes in our communities regarding HIV, or any other health matter.

The best example is PrEP. PrEP is available to many. The PrEP conversation must be reconfigured for the Black community as a whole. Many Black women are unaware of this amazing medical tool — and that if you’re HIV-negative, you can remain that way and enjoy a healthy, vibrant sex life.

In order to truly reduce the rates of HIV for my (Black) people, we must rapidly commit federal, state, local, and private funds and energy to revolutionizing the prevention and care model and messaging.

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