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Why are Black women at higher risk of HIV?

In the United States, as quiet as it’s kept, one in five HIV infections actually occurs amongst women. And the majority of those women are black women, who are infected with HIV. What the data shows, is that when you compare black women and white women, who are infected with HIV, the black women who become infected with HIV actually have fewer sexual partners, are more likely to use condoms, and yet are more likely to become infected with HIV because there’s more HIV in the communities in which they’re having sex. Nobody wants to be a statistic, right. You want to be a person. If you’re in a community where there’s a lot of HIV, and you don’t know it, the chances of you getting it are higher. If we keep thinking of HIV as something that only happens in those communities, then we won’t get tested because you’ll say, oh, that’s not me. I don’t fit that bill. I’m not that person so I don’t need to get tested. Not because you didn’t make all the right choices, but because you allowed to story to stop you from getting tested.

Dr. Flash explains why Black women are at higher risk of HIV in the U.S. and the importance of getting tested.

One reason some groups have been more affected by HIV/AIDS than others is because the HIV prevalence – the percent of the population that has HIV – is already high. In other words, the chance of being exposed to the virus is just greater in these social networks and so the response must also be greater.


#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

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