World AIDS Day is an opportunity to learn more about HIV/AIDS, how it is transmitted, how to prevent it, how to seek treatment, and to show your support for people living with the virus and the organizations that serve them. You can show your support for people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS in many ways, including donating to charities that support HIV/AIDS prevention research, volunteering at a HIV/AIDS organization that provides programming for HIV positive African American women, or simply wearing a red ribbon throughout the day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, African Americans represent 14% of the United States population, yet account for 44% of all new HIV infections in 2009. For African American women, this is especially important. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women. Further, most (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. Taking care of ourselves by getting tested, becoming educated about the various transmission methods of HIV, and communicating with our partners can greatly reduce our infection rates.

For this reason, Clutch is proud to announce that we are partnering with b condoms, the world’s only minority-owned, socially responsible condom company to begin publishing a series of articles addressing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual health and relationships. Today’s announcement exemplifies our collective commitment to decreasing the impact of HIV/AIDS among African American women, and hopefully moving the discussion forward so that we can achieve the ultimate goal of a world where the infection rates are drastically reduced until a cure is found.

Despite continuous conversations centered around whether the number of sexual partners we have places us at increased risk for becoming infected, (and even prolonged conversations on the “down low” phenomenon) the true causes for HIV infection are stigma, discrimination, ignorance of the disease, and invincibility (the belief that we won’t become infected with HIV). Prejudices, negative attitudes, misinformation, and poor treatment from medical professionals all produce a negative effect on finding a cure for the virus.

We hope you enjoy this series. We look forward to your comments and engaging with you in this much needed subject. For more information about b condoms, HIV/AIDS or World AIDS Day, please check out @bcondoms, www.bcondoms.com, or worldaidsdays.org

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