Talking about HIV and AIDS is something many shy away from. Growing up we had health class to teach us about sexually transmitted diseases and how to use safe sex practices but our teachers never dived deep into the many ways AIDS can be prevented. AIDS is a thing of the past with so many advances in modern medicine that the disease has all been eradicated. As parent,we taught our kids how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and I really drove home that teenage pregnancy was a definite NO. Now that I am Media Director over a major fashion week (Magic City Fashion Week ) I find myself talking about HIV Awareness more and more each day. Magic City Fashion Week is not just a week to celebrate all of the amazing strides the Birmingham fashion scene has made. Our main goal is to encourage HIV awareness and education in our communities. I believe that its a duty to know your status. Why wouldn’t you want to know your status? African Americans are known not to visit the doctor as much, be it for financial reasons or not. Some can’t afford health care and just say to hell with it and go on living day by day. Then you have some that feel If I go get tested at the local clinic that someone may see me and post it on social media.
According to an article published in al.com , Jefferson County has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the state, according to the AIDSVu data. Even in hard-hit areas such as Birmingham, the impact of HIV is uneven. AIDSVu includes a map of HIV diagnoses in Birmingham broken down by zip code. The inner city has the largest concentration of cases.”When you start looking at a finer level, we find the stories within these cities are more nuanced,” Patrick said. “Birmingham has a pattern where sort of the central parts of the city have higher rates and that falls out as you move to the suburbs.” Data also states that African-American men are almost five times more likely than white men to become infected with HIV in Birmingham. About two-thirds of new diagnoses of HIV occurred in African-American patients.
So now more than ever it is imperative to educate our the youth on knowing their status and to open up dialogue where simply talking about HIV Awareness isn’t so stigmatized. Magic City Fashion Week along wth Birmingham Aids Outreach are beaconing in a new movement to empower and educate and to let everyone know “Stigma is so last Season”! I am blessed to be apart of such an amazing team and movement and i can’t wait to share more with you guys as fashion week gets closer.
So if you are one who doesn’t want to visit your local clinic, you can buy the Ora Quick HIV testing kit from your local drug store and take your test in the privacy of your home. Swab the top and bottom of your mouth without touching your lips and gums. Drop the stick in the solution and in 20 minutes you will know your status. Simple as that! Ora Quick also comes with resources on whom to contact if your test come back positive. Birmingham Aids Outreach and the 1917Clinic AT UAB give out free, confidential testing and support for those living with HIV infection.
Fashion has always bridged the gap and open up conversations that we generally shy away from. I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing team benefiting such an amazing cause.
“With HIV rates rising in the City of Birmingham , specifically in the African American community , the Magic City Classic is the perfect time to hold a fashion week in support of Birmingham Aids Outreach.” – Derek Deandre (Co-Founder Of MCFW ) Learn more about magiccityfashionweek by visiting the site grabbing your tickets and supporting the shows. I have so much much to share in the coming weeks Fabs! Remember Stigma is so last season ! Keep the conversation going to educate and empower our youth !
XoXo – Keicia Shanta