By on’s Erika Holmes recently caught up with Hill Harper at a World AIDS event to talk about the disease.

Why was it important for you be here tonight?

I’ve been a supporter of the Black AIDS Institute for a number of years. They actually honored me a couple of years ago by making me a Hero in Heroes in the Struggle, giving me one of these awards. Every year this comes along, I will always want to support the event because what the Black AIDS institute stands for and it is doing is critical.

Do you think enough is being done to talk to the young men? I know you write books. Do you think anything more can be done?

There is always more that can be done and events like this are important. That is why folks like you being here are important. Broadcasting this over the web, getting the image out there, talking about this issue. A lot of the time, issues like HIV and AIDS get pushed under the carpet. At the end of the day, the key is getting tested. Folks have to know there is no stigma attached to that, and young people in particular.

Creating awareness in the community is so important. The more we show up and talk about it or not hide from the epidemic in our community, the more we can save lives. If my presence is going to wake up some people to the issue and reality of this issue of AIDS in our community, then I am all for being here.

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