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African-Americans Need to Use Condoms

C. Stiles

African-Americans need to learn to protect themselves. We're number one in murders, gun violence, poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases.

I'm tired of being number one.

Blacks account for more new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States. Of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country, 510,000 are African-Americans. New infections follow the same pattern.

The New York and Miami metropolitan areas have the greatest numbers of blacks living with HIV. Contracting HIV/AIDS is the second biggest killer in the African-American community after gun violence.

Teen pregnancies among young black girls are also increasing fast. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Florida is among the top five states when it comes to the rate of non-Hispanic black teenage girls getting pregnant. Black women also have the highest rate of abortions, accounting for 30 percent of all abortions, according to the 2010 census.

That's why I quickly accepted an offer from New York-based prophylactics company b Condoms to do a safe-sex campaign. I didn't blink at the opportunity to hand out 6,000 free Platinum XL b Condoms to several social service agencies in Miami. If I could hand out a million, I would.

African-American celebrities must take an active role in changing people's mindset. We need to talk about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies by advocating safe sex. Young people in the inner city can't even afford to buy something off the McDonald's dollar menu. How are we going to let them bring a child into this world if they don't have the resources — like a steady job — to take care of that kid.

If I can convince young African-Americans that it's OK to use condoms, it's a small step in ending our own genocide.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.


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