Are you Black? Are you Female?

More than likely if you are reading this blog you are..........and if you are not, there is no discrimination allowed over here so feel free to read on! The reason for the eye popping title is that if you are indeed black and female, you need to pay attention to HIV. HIV is the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25-34. In parts of Africa, it is the leading cause of death and as an African, the prevention and treatment of HIV is a cause that is close to my heart.

Leila at BGLH has a wonderful way of blending serious topics with fashion. A few months back she featured The Red Pump Project. With her permission, I am reposting it here!

Let’s begin with the stats.

1. Black teens aged 13–19 represent only 16 percent of all teenagers in the United States but are 69% of new AIDS cases among teens.

2. Almost 70 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are black women.

3. AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women aged 25–34 and the third leading cause of death for black women aged 35-44.

Last night I attended the Red Pump Project’s “Rock the Red” Fashion Show at The Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.) in Chicago. The event serves to raise awareness of AIDS among black women while celebrating fashion.

The clothes were beautiful, and the people were lovely. But I was haunted by the statistics I heard. My mind raced to the people I know — people close to me — who don’t make it a habit to practice safe sex. And for a moment in the crowded lounge, I panicked.

Rae Lewis Thornton, an activist and minister living with AIDS, was presented with an award. The room fell silent as she told about how, as a successful professional in her 20s, she first discovered she was infected with AIDS. Her boyfriend’s first words after hearing: “You bitch.”

Read the rest of the article (and peep the lovely hair on show!) -


  1. We live in a society where casual sex is widely accepted. One night stands, fwbs, f--- buddies, multiple partners, cheating, and refusing to use protection is rampant. As long as these types of behaviors continue, the AIDs situation is going to get worse.

  2. I've heard about the Rock the Red Pump campaign, because I also read awesomelyluvvie's website ( and she was one of the co-founders of the campaign.
    It also worries me that we don't have any similar campaign to this in the U.K - a lot of my (university) friends seem to think (and act!) like HIV has been cured. It drives me nuts :(

  3. Sweet Thang and asimple thing I totally agree. In UK there is a big issue on taking contraception but not really on safe sex. I also think that there are far too many people who think homosexual people are the only ones who get HIV and that really annoys me because it is so untrue.

    I think we do live in an oversexualised society. I have seen very questionable advertisements for mundane things like jeans or shoes. We have a lot of growing up to do as a society.

  4. Thank you so much for reposting this from Leila's site and bringing attention to the effect HIV/AIDS is having on our community! The Red Pump Project just wants to spotlight this so with knowledge comes our power to protect ourselves.

  5. @JC: regarding the oversexualised society, I couldn't agree more. My friends think I'm a prude because I don't watch the music channels, because there's just...there's too much! When I came back from China, I was even worse, because they don't have advertising like that over there.

  6. The stats are so scary! I wonder why people aren't paying attention to the fact that HIV doesn't show on the face. Anybody could be carrying the virus. And why is it so hard to practice safe sex? Our society glorifies sexual behaviour but no one really stops to put on a condom. Even in the pornographic industry, condoms are not sexy! Black women need to put themselves first before they think about their next nut. AIDS is real darn it.

  7. Hey Jc! This post scared the crap out of me!! I looked up free clinics in the area & I decided 2 stop putting it off & find out my status.
    It was a nervewracking experience, but I'm glad I got it outta the way!!! Thx 4 posting this :)

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Luvvie you are doing a great job!

    Anon - I am so happy that this post can have a real impact like this. Stay safe.


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