With Saturday's National Transgender HIV Testing Day arriving in the middle of a global pandemic, the leader of the National Black Justice Coalition called for health care equality.

Citing the disproportionate amount of Black Americans sick and dying from COVID-19, especially Black trans people, NBJC executive director David Johns called for intervention for "those most frequently neglected and ignored."

“The COVID-19 crisis has only further demonstrated the blatant health disparities disproportionately impacting Black Americas," Johns said in a statement. 

"Although social distancing may change how we assess our risk and how we can engage with testing safely, this is the moment for all Americans to recognize that a system that allows some to fall through the cracks is not a good enough system. It’s beyond time we improve our systems to ensure they account for those most frequently neglected and ignored.

Johns spoke of parallels between COVID-19 and HIV, especially when it comes to who gets help from government officials and compassion from the public.

“We should use National Transgender HIV Testing Day to remember that HIV and AIDS have always had the greatest impact on the most marginalized among us," Johns said. "Black trans people were and remain uniquely impacted by HIV/AIDS and we are seeing similar trends with COVID-19; now we know better, we should learn from past lessons and avoid repeating life-threatening mistakes. We will not solve either of these crises in a lab, but with the moral courage to create a healthcare system built around our most marginalized, not our most wealthy.” 

To find testing sites or HIV-related care, click here.