HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Last year the LGBT Life Center in Hampton roads reported an alarming rate in STD case, a 20 percent increase, resulting in 254 new cases and many of those were HIV diagnoses.
Racial disparity is one reason HIV can go undetected according to O'Mar White, Community Health Navigator with the Life Center.
"One of the problems blacks in general had was accessing health insurance they never went to doctor or got checkups," said White.
White says nationwide 50 percent of black gay men are HIV positive.
"But it is not a death sentence if you take your regimen daily," he said.
In 2018 there were just over 7,050 people living with Hampton Roads, the Life Center wants those unsure to know many resources are available for help, education, and even counseling.
"Come on in have a holistic open mind conversation with your tester or care navigator," said White.
December 1 is World AIDS Day, a time to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourn those who died from the disease.
"In the 80's there was nothing we could do if you had it you passed away," said White. "It is important to remember where we have come from and to know where we are going."
Tuesday Arts for Life is hosting a World's AIDS Day event to benefit the Life Center. It will feature a mix of dance, guitar solos, and Broadway musical pieces. The goal to help those dealing with the infection or disease live normal lives.
Find more information on the event here.
"We are taking away all of those things the stigma that comes along with HIV, I can get a job, I can get married and I can have children," said White.