HIV and AIDS affects more people than we realize, the problem is it’s yet another subject that we don’t feel comfortable discussing. In our community, the idea of opening up a dialogue about disease, prevention, or testing is almost like admitting to having said disease. It’s frustrating. The more we avoid discussing these important issues, the more we see a rise in the amount of people that it’s actually affecting. Emily Yeatts of Planned Parenthood explained to me that education, awareness, and prevention are all things we can do to prevent the spread of a disease, that at one time was a death sentence to many people affected. However with today’s research and technology, if caught early enough and treated, people are living long and normal lives.

With Richmond and Petersburg Virginia being a huge areas of concern, I wanted to talk to her about ways our community leaders can take part in getting the word out. I especially believe that events, nightclubs, and other places where people frequent and meet potential sexual partners should look into having free testing sites available for their patrons. It’s going to take a conversation, all of us opening up, to change the landscape of how this disease and many other STIs are affecting our community.

Check out this discussion with Emily Yeatts and also see all of the resources that she provided, if you need to seek additional help.


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In this video I chat with Emily Yeatts of Planned Parenthood on the importance of HIV/AIDS testing. The rising rates of HIV/AIDS cases in Virginia prompted us to have an open discussion on the common misconceptions related to this disease. There are many resources available to the public that many aren’t aware of, and it is not an automatic death sentence.

In the video, Emily provides facts about HIV/AIDS and many other STIs, so that people can get an understanding of how important it is to get checkups by a health professional regularly and take advantage of the FREE opportunities to get tested. Knowing your status isn’t just for you, but those people that you know and love as well.


Included is a testimony from AIDS in Black America: ‘We can win this Battle


Documentary–Endgame: AIDS in Black America

(This documentary has a lot of excellent information and speaks to the complexity of the issue)


Here’s the homepage for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program:

I recommend that people also reach out to the VCU HIV/AIDS Center about assistance with paying for HIV treatment…they have Navigators on staff that can help people go through the system and make sure they have what they need. Sometimes it helps being able to talk to a person and ask questions:


Here is the information about the Black AIDS Institute, which is doing amazing mobilization work around this issue:

Get in Contact with Emily and Planned Parenthood Richmond

Emily Yeatts, MSW, MPH ∙ Education Manager ∙

The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood

201 North Hamilton Street ∙ Richmond, Virginia 23221
Email:  or go to the website at


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