The Black & White:
Numbers tend to have an unique effect on the imagery they can potentially draw. With numbers one can fill in the blanks of an obscure picture and many times walk away from a situation with a firmer understanding of reality versus perception. This weekend the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released telling numbers that identified Atlanta, Georgia as a domestic hub of the viral, yet deadly disease known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus. YIKES!
Before we dive into the number deeply let’s put this all into perspective. Georgia, the 24th largest state in the United States in terms of land mass and the 9th most populous state, has a documented population of 10.21 million. These numbers are result of the 2010 census data. Atlanta, GA, the metropolitan mega-center of the southeastern region and the state’s capital boasts a population of 5.6 million! That’s right, half of the state’s population lives in the Atlanta region, but hear this: 1 in 51 Georgians now have or will contract the HIV disease-about 200,000 overall.
The bleakness of those numbers are important on so many levels but mainly because this happens to be The United States of America. What do I mean by that statement? We pride ourselves on being a domestic, civilized, sexually responsible nation; also, a healthy, medicinally conscious nation of people. I then am forced to ask: Why does a region, better yet city of mainly minorities have a HIV rate that rivals Zimbabwe, a country ravaged by HIV and one to this day lacking the infrastructure or technology to research and combat the HIV/Aids epidemic?
One can reason about these daunting numbers and offer numerous possibilities but nonetheless, this is a conversation and topic that cannot be overlooked as a passing, insignificant or trivial matter.
Maybe it’s massive amounts of unprotected sex. Maybe it’s protected sex but irresponsibility in getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases at least two or three times per year. Maybe it’s physician’s dropping the ball and not informing infected beings of the magnitude of their diagnosis. Maybe it’s individuals just not caring who they infect even if they know they ramifications. Or perhaps it’s a concentrated genocide to eradicate a group of people. No matter the reasoning or logic we land upon in identifying the issue, one thing remains true: something has to change by way of a meaningful solution and purposeful discussion!