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What is healthy equity and why does it matter?

Health equity means that everyone has a fair opportunity to live a long, healthy life. It implies that health should not be compromised or disadvantaged because of an individual or population group’s race, ethnicity, gender, income, sexual orientation, neighborhood or other social condition. Health equity is important because everyone deserves a fair chance to lead a healthy life. No one should be denied this chance because of who they are or their socio-economic opportunities.

There are great disparities in health, access to quality health care, and insurance coverage due to race and socioeconomic status in the United States.  According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Black people receive lower quality health care than Whites and have poorer health outcomes across disease areas.  Within the context of HIV, health equity means that instead of an individual’s health outcome being determined by his or her employment status, income level, and/or ZIP code, the individual is provided with the same fair opportunities (i.e. access to HIV testing, treatment, and support) as their counterparts to live a long, healthy life. Through advocacy efforts, The Black Church & HIV initiative augmented the political voices of Black communities as they pertain to the policies that affect health equity and access to HIV prevention, testing, and linkage to care.

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