New York, NY — Ahead of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Sunday, February 7, David Furnish, chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, released the following statement:
“Although we have made significant progress in the fight to end AIDS, the fact remains that racism and discrimination are impeding that progress in black communities. African Americans are eight times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than their white counterparts. This is unconscionable.
“The ongoing disenfranchisement of African Americans means they are more likely to live where HIV strikes the hardest: communities where poverty and homelessness are rampant, and education and healthcare are scarce. This is especially true in the South, where HIV/AIDS rates are among the highest in the nation, and where, not coincidentally, governors refuse to expand access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. These governors are denying millions of people life-saving care, and ignoring what works: when more people have access to prevention and treatment, fewer people get infected.
“We at the Elton John AIDS Foundation continue to invest millions of dollars each year in organizations working to increase access to healthcare in the South and within the African-American community. But as with progress on any front, if we are going to end AIDS in our lifetime, we all must do more to prove that black lives matter.”