Blacks continue to bear the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a fact made clear by looking at the numbers in Georgia.
Among the state’s 28,599 residents living with HIV, some 20,759 (73 percent) are black. Among the 18,762 people living with AIDS in the state, 13,296 (71 percent) are black.
Those numbers will certainly spark discussion during the 10th annual conference on HIV/AIDS from the African-American Outreach Initiative next weekend in Atlanta.
The goal of the two-day conference, scheduled for Saturday and March 15, is to identify people who are HIV positive and get them into care, said Michael Banner, chairman of the planning committee, a coalition of AIDS service organizations.
Banner said the conference each year attracts between 500 and 600 people who are HIV positive, and this year promises to be no different.
“That’s what makes this conference different,” he said. “It gives people who are HIV positive a safe place to come and get information and see role models who are living with HIV but not living in the shadows.”