Black and HIV Positive in the U.S.

CNN covers a jarring report today, released by the Black AIDS Institute, on the skyrocketing numbers of HIV/AIDS rates among Black Americans. It’s hard to imagine that if we were seeing these kinds of numbers among White Americans, we’d still be seeing the same lack of attention to the epidemic.

The report does not talk about racism. It sticks to the grim and almost unimaginable facts:

  • One in every two people living with HIV in the United States is Black
  • AIDS is the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34

With facts like these, it should be a no-brainer for the United States to be investing significant funds towards domestic prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. This quote from the CNN coverage puts it in perspective:

According to this report, if black Americans made up their own country,
it would rank above Ethiopia (420,000 to 1,300,000) and below Ivory
Coast (750,000) in HIV population. Both Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast
are among the 15 nations receiving funds from the President’s Emergency
Plan For Aids Relief.

The President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), just recently passed, has been covered extensively on RH Reality Check for its emphasis on ideology, relying in part on abstinence-only programs for prevention, and denying funds to programs that don’t renounce prostitution in countries in Africa. But the reality is that while Senators were volleying to make sure these ideologically bound opinions remained enshrined in the bill, millions of Black Americans have been virtually ignored. In fact, according to Kaiser, domestic funding for HIV/AIDS prevention makes up the smallest part of the HIV/AIDS budget in this country. 

The International AIDS Conference (IAC) will be held in Mexico City next month where advocates from around the world will attend and discuss prevention and treatment strategies. Unfortunately, there will be virtually no high-level governmental representatives from the United States in attendance. Without the leadership from government, it certainly seems like it will be a battle to push for more and more comprehensive funding for HIV/AIDS in this country.

RH Reality Check will begin our coverage of the IAC next week with reports from professional advocates, journalists and bloggers. In the meantime, CNN has coverage here and you can watch Part I of a report from ABC News below:

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  • invalid-0

    Am apopletic this morning at breakfast. Reading N.Y. Times, July 30, late edition, story does not appear until PAGE TEN, far right (how perfect)column. We must become bolder around this issue.

    Last night I wore my “Rubber for Rubber” crocheted Condom Amulet to a sold-out NYC Planned Parenthood fund-raiser. held at the Museum of Sex. It’s what I can do. Just as with CHOICE, we all need to think of less polite ways to make bring these issues to the front page.

    Will write to NY Times today. Amie, thanks for a place to explode, will be writing on my blog later.

  • invalid-0

    Amy you’re not jarred by this devastating report by CNN and naomi you’re not apoplectic after reading about it in the NY Times…you’re both delusional.

    Many African-Americans have bought into your “safe sex” delusion for the past 30 plus years, and look where it has gotten them?

    Disease and death.

    Don’t give me that line of bull, “It’s hard to imagine that if we were seeing these kinds of numbers among White Americans, we’d still be seeing the same lack of attention to the epidemic.”

    African Americans are not being infected with this deadly disease because of racism, lack of education, lack of funding, etc. Yes, racism is prevalent, but that’s not the major issue. African Americans are hardest hit by this disease and they are dying from it because of their own poor choices.

    Think about it:

    • African Americans make up about 15% of the population, but are the biggest consumers out of any group in America.
    • There is a neighborhood store on every corner where condoms and other prophylactics are sold at reasonable prices.
    • They are knowledgeable in the facts of comprehensive sex ed and how to avoid the risks of unprotected sex.

    Money, resources, and education are not the problem, either.

    Comprehensive sex ed is the problem. It is proven not to be THE magic bullet that will make all the nasty consequences of premarital sex go away.

    Neither will your “Rubber For Rubber” crocheted condom amulet(???!) magically stop African Americans (or anyone else for that matter) from becoming infected with HIV/AIDS, naomi. Wearing a gadget like that only makes you feel like you’re helping the “poor and underprivileged black folk”, when all you’re really doing is preaching to the choir.

    What’s the solution that’s tailor-made for the African-American community?


    I gather from some of the articles I’ve read on this site, abstinence wouldn’t work for you suburbanites. But it’s perfect for African Americans.

    Consider this carefully:

    If African Americans are not having sex until marriage, they have less of a chance of becoming infected, and there would be no need for:

    • Condoms.
    • Abortions (the leading cause of death for African Americans since 1973. THANKS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD!!)
    • The government to continue to ignore them and their fight against HIV/AIDS.

    Total abstinence until marriage is an obtainable goal, especially for a people who are being unnecessarily decimated by this disease.

    Besides, if African Americans are still under the impression that the U.S. government (of all things) are concerned for them, they definitely missed the wake up call Hurricane Katrina left at their doorsteps. The governments’ lack of urgency and incredible ineptitude in handling Katrina’s devastating aftermath will go down into the annals of history as one of the most shameful acts EVER.

    No, I believe African Americans should stop drinking the “safe sex Kool-aid” and wise up to the fact that total sexual abstinence until marriage is 100% effective against HIV/AIDS.