In This Issue

It's no secret that we have the tools to break the back of the AIDS epidemic in America. We've been talking about this for years now and with treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) we now actually can prove that we have the mechanisms to stop both HIV's transmission and acquisition.

But many of the communities that most need these biomedical interventions don't have access to them; when they do have access, they're not maximizing utilization—a reality that often reflects lack of knowledge and awareness. We are not going to get Black folks to utilize treatment as prevention and PrEP if we don't discuss and make them aware of these biomedical interventions. Indeed, the lack of dialogue leaves many Black people wondering: What do these approaches have to do with us?

Earlier this month, the Black AIDS Institute launched its National PrEP Tour, which asks: What's PrEP got to do with Black people? The Tour is an effort to have that conversation locally and nationally, simultaneously. Our goal is to educate Black people so these new biomedical interventions help reduce HIV/AIDS health disparities instead of exacerbating them, which, right now, they have the potential to do.

The Black AIDS Institute will be working with local health departments, AIDS service organizations, activists, PLWHA and people at high risk of HIV, nationwide, to: a) change the narrative in local communities and, b) help communities design effective strategies to ensure people have the information they need to take advantage of biomedical technology, as appropriate. We urge you to take part in the conversation. We are in Oakland today and tomorrow, October 17 and 18; in Chicago tomorrow, October 18th; and traveling around the nation thereafter; so check the Events listing in the Black AIDS Weekly to find us in a city near you.

In this issue we report on the Health and Hip Hop Conference at Morgan State University, in Baltimore, where Black male students from four Maryland HBCUs came together to learn about sexual-health choices and their possible outcomes in a culturally relevant way focused around hip-hop and the lives of young Black men.

The Affordable Care Act's third open enrollment season started earlier this month. Our friends at Kaiser Health News report on the federal government's efforts to reach one-million people nationwide who are eligible for health insurance but who haven't yet signed up. They also update us on the challenges many consumers are facing as they seek to identify the best health insurance for them by estimating the plans' costs.

We are only two weeks away from World AIDS Day 2015, whose theme is The Time to Act Is Now. ONAP director Douglas M. Brooks and Abassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., invite us to participate in World AIDS Day and use social media to communicate just how we're taking action.

Finally, we thought we'd end the issue with some good news: The gap in life expectancy between Black and White Americans is narrowing, in part due to improving HIV outcomes. Be sure to read about it.

Yours in the struggle,