African Americans account for about 500,000 out of 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, even though blacks make up only about 12 percent of the national population. Medical advances make it possible to end the national HIV/AIDS epidemic, but African America must be ready to act on these opportunities, according to a new report published by the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), a national HIV/AIDS think tank that focuses exclusively on African Americans.

The BAI report—titled 30 Years Is Enuf!—stated that African Americans are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than white Americans. What’s more, black women account for more than 60 percent of all women living with HIV in the United States. And blacks experience the highest rate of AIDS-related deaths compared with any other racial or ethnic group in the country.

In addition, among African Americans, men account for 65 percent of new infections—with men who have sex with men (MSM) at the highest risk of infection, according to Greg Millett, MPH, a senior scientist with the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Millett spoke at a recent telebriefing that accompanied the launch of the BAI report. He added that African Americans make up more than 56 percent of all “late testers,” people diagnosed with AIDS within one year of an HIV diagnosis—a sobering statistic.

Also at the telebriefing, Phill Wilson, the president and CEO of BAI, explained President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy and highlighted breakthrough medical advancements and encouraging recent study results on vaginal microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and early initiation of antiretrovirals. “The Black AIDS Institute believes that we now have the tools to end the AIDS epidemic,” Wilson said. “This is our medical man-on-the-moon moment. This is our deciding moment to determine the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic, and the question is: What will we do with these tools?”