First reported by the CDC on June 5, 1981, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a pressing concern for communities across the country. On that date, the CDC documented five cases found in white, gay men, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Saturday also marked HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, recognizing the lives and experiences of those living with HIV. Reflecting on 40 years since the first CDC report, President and CEO of AIDS United Jesse Milan highlighted the importance of telling a full story of the HIV epidemic.
“I have been living with HIV since 1982,” said Milan in a video message. “And I’m still here.”
Milan’s short but powerful admission is a testament to the enduring legacy of long-term survivors and those lost along the way. Even though with treatment, long-term survivorship with HIV is more commonplace, the HIV epidemic is still a pressing issue requiring serious investment.
“It’s been 40 years,” continued Milan. “HIV is still here. But we have all the tools we need to end the HIV epidemic.”
Milan also noted that the first reported case of HIV in the US was in 1969. In a Twitter thread, Dr. Oni Blackstock shared the story of Robert Rayford, a Black teenager from St. Louis who died in 1969.
Twelve years before the country would even recognize a new pneumonia, Robert Rayford died of complications later determined to be HIV. Over 50 years after Rayford’s death, Black and other communities of color continue to bear a disproportionate brunt of the epidemic.
Approximately 1.2 million living in America have HIV. While only 13% of the population, Black people account for over 40% of new cases in 2018. Black Americans also have a higher rate of death as compared to other groups.
In a statement released Saturday, President Joe Biden announced a renewed commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS. “We must continue empowering researchers, scientists, and health care providers to ensure equitable access to prevention, care, and treatment in every community – particularly for communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community,” read the statement.
Biden announced he requested $670 million in funding from Congress to “accelerate and strengthen our efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.” This represents an increase of $267 million from previous levels.
The White House also announced Harold Phillips would lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. He previously served as the Senior HIV Advisor and Chief Operating Officer of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.
Established in 1993 under former President Bill Clinton, the Office of National AIDS Policy coordinates the federal response to the ongoing epidemic. Biden also recommitted the office to combat the stigma and discrimination against individuals living with HIV.
Phillips appeared Saturday as a part of the “Heroes In The Struggle” event hosted by the Black AIDS Institute. This year’s theme is celebrating Black resilience. Founded in 1999, the Black AIDS Institute is a Black-led “think and do tank” committed to ending the AIDS epidemic in Black communities.
“For 22 years, the Black AIDS Institute has led a uniquely and unapologetically Black fight to end HIV by centering Black people, organizations, and leaders,” said Raniyah Copeland, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “Heroes In The Struggle is an example of that Black Excellence, that when elevated, will lead us to the end of the epidemic.”
The event recognized the contributions of POSE co-creator and producer Steven Canals; Carmarion Anderson-Harvey, Alabama State Director for the Human Rights Campaign and Co-Chair of Black AIDS Institute’s Black Treatment Advocates Network’s Alabama chapter, and George M.Johnson – author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue.”
Violent White Folks Who Were Taken Into Custody With Loving Care By Police
1. Miami airport violence
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Last night at Miami Int’l Airport. Another FL anti-masker covidiot. (Strong language). pic.twitter.com/kO18bBFPTb— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) August 28, 2021
2. Floyd Ray Roseberry
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NEW: “The revolution is on. It’s here… I’m ready to die for the cause.”— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 19, 2021
Here’s video from the man who said he’s got a bomb outside the Capitol.
Follow @huffpost and @sara_bee for more as the situation develops. pic.twitter.com/aRx1hES7Vl
3. Jeffrey Nicholas
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Jeffrey Nicholas, a white man shot and killed two police officers and injured a city worker in Texas before he was able to be safely apprehended without law enforcement resorting to using lethal force.https://t.co/sLhFwxZHgg pic.twitter.com/yWd0XUg7Og— NewsOne (@newsone) May 13, 2021
4. Robert Aaron Long, suspect in Asian massage parlor killing spree in GASource:Crisp County Sheriff's Office 4 of 32
5. Duke Webb, bowling alley gunman in Rockford, IllinoisSource:Winnebago County Sheriff's Office 5 of 32
6. Car Drives Into Group Of Protesters In New YorkSource:Getty 6 of 32
7. Brad Parscale, demoted former Trump campaign managerSource:Getty 7 of 32
8. Brett HankisonSource:Shelby County Sheriff's Department 8 of 32
9. Thomas Kinworthy accused of killing Black cop, shooting another9 of 32
10. Dalton Potter allegedly shot a cop and another man
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BLUE ALERT issued for Dalton Potter, age 29. Potter is suspected of shooting a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office deputy overnight. Last known to be on foot on Interstate 75 at the Whitfield/Gordon County line. Potter is considered armed and dangerous. Call 911. #BlueAlert pic.twitter.com/Vdyl8ReGaW— GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) September 7, 2020
11. White suspect physically attacking officer
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Interesting.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 30, 2020
Thinking about Jacob Blake right now. Sure seems like white people get the benefit of the doubt when engaged with the police... pic.twitter.com/kLh9iCJepp
12. Kyle Rittenhouse, Kenosha Jacob Blake shooterSource:Twitter 12 of 32
13. White supremacist who beat a woman on video
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Nicholas Arnold Schock, 36, of Wauchula was arrested and charged with battery and disturbing the peace and bail was set at $620. He remains at the Sarasota County Jail. pic.twitter.com/ggDBjAxCN1— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) August 2, 2020
14. West Hollywood shooter14 of 32
15. Gregory and Travis McMichaelsSource:Glynn County Sheriff's Office 15 of 32
16. Anthony J. Trifiletti, shot an unarmed Black manSource:Saint Paul Police Department 16 of 32
17. Matthew Bernard, Killed Three People17 of 32
18.18 of 32
19. Mark Boisey19 of 32
20. Lorne BrownSource:NBC Miami 20 of 32
21. Patrick Crusius, El Paso Mall Mass Shooting Suspect
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Patrick Crusius allegedly wrote a racist manifesto before killing at least 18 people in Saturday's shooting at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. The suspect, a white male, was safely taken into custody.— NewsOne (@newsone) August 3, 2019
This is America. #Walmartshooting #ElPasoShootinghttps://t.co/cjYzJZsCXn
22. Aaron DeanSource:Tarrant County Jail 22 of 32
23. Amber Guyger23 of 32
24. James Holmes
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Today on #CrimeStories: Prosecutors have released video of #Aurora shooter #JamesHolmes’ interviews w/ a psychiatrist. Tune in now on @SiriusXM ch. 111 for insight on the evaluation of his sanity in the #Colorado theater massacre. #NancyGrace #CrimeAlert #CrimeOnline #MassKiller pic.twitter.com/DKRD2s0ay8— Crime Online (@crimeonlinenews) February 26, 2019
25. Michael Mattioli25 of 32
26. Dylann RoofSource:Getty 26 of 32
27. Matthew Sloan Punched And Spit On Police...
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Again, if Matthew Sloan was a Black man this would be a much different story. https://t.co/K4cwb6SQ38— NewsOne (@newsone) July 12, 2019
28. Assaulted Police And Even Chased Them...
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This man never complied— Gambling Refund 💵™ (@OffshoreRefund) May 14, 2019
This man actually hit police multiple times
This man chased police and made them fear for safety
This man was not killed!
Pamela Turner was murdered and pregnant, she was never given the same opportunity. WHY? @KingJamespic.twitter.com/DfzdICbOy8
29. Shot At Police At Trump Tower...29 of 32
30. Shot At Police At Walmart -- And Was Let Go...30 of 32
31. Man Holds Black Man At Gunpoint And He Is Calmly Arrested...
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Downtown CHARLOTTESVILLE right now. F*ing white trash has a black man submitted first with a knife around his neck, then makes him kneel still threatening to stab him.— ℕ𝕠𝕥 𝕓𝕚𝕡𝕠𝕝𝕒𝕣 𝕥𝕠𝕕𝕒𝕪 (@tomorrowtambien) December 28, 2018
Please, Twitter do your thing in the name of justice #resist @washingtonpost @MSNBC pic.twitter.com/klg7g5ac22
32. Grady Wayne Wilkes32 of 32
‘I’m Still Here’: 40 Years Since The First Reported Case Of AIDS, The Fight Continues was originally published on newsone.com