03/21/2016 05:36 pm ET
Editor, HuffPost Live
With about 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, there’s no reason the conversation about the issue should be slowing down. Actor Jussie Smollett, who has been an outspoken advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, delivered that message loud and clear in a conversation with HuffPost Live last week.
The “Empire” star warned against considering HIV/AIDS to be a problem from “yesteryear.”
“We get attached to these hashtags and it becomes this social media fad,” he said. “But it’s almost as if HIV/AIDS stopped being the thing to talk about before social media came around. We’ve gotta bring that back because we’re not done.”
In recent years, the estimated incidence of HIV has remained stable at about50,000 new HIV infections annually, but gay men and African Americans are still most affected. With new infections still occurring, the actor stressed the importance of knowing one’s HIV status and being open about it.
“Getting tested, knowing your status, being responsible for yourself and other people is so important — being honest with yourself, number one, so you can be honest with everyone else,” he said.
Smollett also shared words of optimism for those who have been infected and are seeking proper treatment.
“We have to remember that it’s not a death sentence. You can live with it and you can live a beautiful, wonderful life with it, but it’s also something that we can prevent,” he said.
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Jussie Smollett here.