NOTE from Jill Tubman: We at JJP are proud to welcome Michael Blake, our first guest blogger from the White House.

Michael Blake, is Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Thanks to Cheryl, Baratunde, and all of you for the welcome.  Today is National HIV Testing Day.  As the member of the Public Engagement team who deals with African-American groups and communities, this is a critically important issue for our community as too many times hopes and dreams are lost from people not knowing their status.

We’ve all heard the statistics before but they should be repeated.   Black women have an AIDS prevalence rate 23 times that of white women.   Black gay and bisexual men are the group most disproportionately impacted by HIV infection, contracting the disease seven times that of whites.

Too many times, African-Americans aren’t willing to get tested because of the fear of the result or the fear of what others may think and even worse, the stigma is so deep in our community that people won’t even talk about it so that we are educated and aware.

What we are aware of is that our families, our dreams, our future shouldn’t be lost because we are afraid of being tested and living a healthy life. That was the message President Obama, then a senator, took with him to Kenya when he and the First Lady got tested.  See some of the footage in this video the President put out moments ago:

Do your part, and then tell your friends to do their part too.  You can find a testing site near you at, or by texting to KNOWIT (566948).

Also, during June, the blog is highlighting several HIV testing story campaigns from organizations such as the National Association of People Living with AIDSPOZ , Southern AIDS Living Quilt, The Positive Project , and others.  Anybody can submit stories through their blog comments.  You can also send e-cards to people you know to encouraging them to get tested, help spread the word with a graphic on your blog or site, or watch the video Secretary Sebelius sent to 65,000 HHS employees on National HIV Testing Day, all at

Knowledge is truly power – let’s empower ourselves – let’s get tested today.

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