Celebrities

Alicia Keys Wants You To Be AIDS-Free

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By April Taylor

Alicia Keys has been a passionate and long time advocate of AIDS/HIV awareness, prevention, and research.  As a recent VH1.com article reports, part of the awareness message that Keys is trying to spread is that the disease is not talked about enough which lulls some people into a false sense of security about how easily their lives can be touched and impacted by the disease.  She also points out that most people feel like AIDS is something that happens to other people, and most of them never consider their own risk for contracting the disease and therefore do not proactively take the necessary precautions to prevent acquiring or spreading it.

Statistics show that there are more than 1.1 million people who have HIV in the United States.  What is scary is that it is estimated that nearly 1 in 6 people are not even aware that they have the disease.  This is part of the reason Keys message about awareness and prevention are so important.

Keys message is especially important to the African American community due to the fact that this community is disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic.  Although African Americans only make up 12% of the population in the United States, they account for 44% of the number of people living with HIV/AIDS and also account for the same percentage of new infections.  Statistics estimate that 1 in 6 African American men will contract the disease in their lifetime, and for women the estimate is 1 in 32.  More statistics can be found at aids.gov.

Keys will be airing a special on VH1 on Sunday, January 19 at 8pm EST.  The special is entitled, “We Are Empowered,” and it will profile five women who are living with HIV/AIDS, and she is hoping that viewers will turn in to learn more about how to discuss the disease with their loved ones and to also be empowered to help spread awareness about the disease.  VH1 has a link for anyone wanting to organize a watch party, and Keys will be tweeting live during the event.  Anyone who wants to join the conversation can use the hash tag #WeAreEmpowered.