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December 1st is World AIDS Day and actress and longtime philanthropist Sheryl Lee Ralph is committed to getting the word out about the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.

“Testing is power. Take that knowledge seriously. Testing has never been made easier. You can pick up a test at Walmart, Walgreen and Rite Aid and do your own test yourself. We don’t have to suffer in silence and so many of us are choosing to do so,” Ralph said.

Is it possible to get to zero?

“It’s possible if people know their status. We have about 40,000 cases of new infections every year. We have a hot spot in the southern United States that rivals sub-Saharan Africa.”

Take a look at a few quick facts about the disease below:

HIV Amount Women

  • Approximately one in four people living with HIV infection in the United States are women.*
  • Most new HIV infections in women are from heterosexual contact (84%).
  • An estimated 88% of women who are living with HIV are diagnosed, but only 32% have the virus under control.

HIV Among Men in the United States

  • Men accounted for 76% of all adults and adolescents living with HIV infection at the end of 2010 in the United States.
  • Men who have sex with men account for most new and existing HIV infections among men.
  • By race/ethnicity, black men have the highest rates of new HIV infections among all men.

HIV Among Transgender People

  • Transgender women are at high risk for HIV infection.
  • By race/ethnicity, black/African-American transgender women have the highest percentage of new HIV-positive test results.
  • Efforts are under way to improve the quality of HIV data collected on transgender communities.

HIV Among Gay and Bisexual Men

  • Gay and bisexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States.
  • Among all gay and bisexual men, black/African-American gay and bisexual men bear a disproportionate burden of HIV.
  • From 2008 to 2010, HIV infections among young black/African-American gay and bisexual men increased 20%.

Click the link above to hear the entire interview and be sure to catch Sheryl co-starring alongside Tia Mowry in the TV Land smash hit, Instant Mom. The show can also be seen on BET.

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(Photo Source: Courtesy)

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