In the United States, the Black community bears the greatest burden of the HIV epidemic, more than any other racial or ethnic group. While African Americans represent just 12% of the total population, they account for 41% of all people living with HIV and 44% of all new infections. In fact, if the African-American community were its own country, it would rank 11th in the world for new HIV infections. Today, the HIV epidemic is one of the most pressing health issues facing the Black community.
To address the urgent need for action, The Black Church & HIV initiative was established to form a national network of faith leaders, religious institutions, and community members committed to making change and ending the HIV epidemic in Black America. There is an immediate need for faith leaders to take action for what is happening with HIV in the Black community. For generations, the Black Church has been a leader for change in the Black community on issues of social justice, including voting rights and employment opportunities. Today, we are applying this tradition of social justice advocacy to the HIV epidemic.
The NAACP, in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc., made a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action in 2013 to further the initiative and enlist faith leaders as change agents to address the disparate and severe impact of HIV on African Americans. The initiative is working to overcome stigma and address HIV as an issue of social justice by:
- Conducting faith leader trainings across the 30 U.S. cities with the greatest HIV burden
- Obtaining formal resolutions from mainline denominations to incorporate HIV messaging into Church activities
- Integrating HIV-related materials into required course curricula in predominantly Black seminaries.