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July 31, 2008

US Virtually Ignores AIDS In Black Community

When was the last time you saw an AIDS prevention ad that targeted the black community? Can't think of any? That's because just about everyone in this country is virtually ignoring the alarming statistics that were released by the CDC (Center For Disease Control).

According to a Black AIDS Institute Report, AIDS in segments of Black America is as severe as in many African countries, but receives much less attention here. The CDC has said that blacks account for 50 percent of the new HIV/AIDS diagnoses “in the United States in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.”

Phill Wilson, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute and one of the author’s of the recently published book “Left Behind! Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic” said:

“More Black Americans are infected with HIV than the total populations of people living with HIV in seven of the 15 countries served by PEPFAR [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief]. Were Black America a separate country, it would elicit major concern and extensive assistance from the U.S. government. Instead, the national response to AIDS among Black Americans has been lethargic and often neglectful."

The book "Left Behind..." stated that there is:

A clear and startling gap between the U.S. government’s appropriate concern about AIDS overseas, and its ongoing denial of the epidemic at home – despite the fact that, in areas of the United States such as Detroit, Newark, New York, Washington D.C. and the Deep South, HIV levels among segments of the Black community approach those of many severely affected countries in Africa. For example, HIV prevalence among middle-aged Black men in Manhattan is almost as high as overall prevalence in South Africa, home to the world’s largest population of people living with HIV

"Left Behind..." also points out that:

While the U.S. government requires countries receiving PEPFAR support have a national AIDS strategy in place, the United States itself has no strategy for its own epidemic, and was one of 40 countries that failed to fulfill its commitment to report to the Joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on its response to AIDS at home. At the same time that the United States has dramatically, and appropriately scaled up funding for AIDS overseas, it has simultaneously cut real spending for domestic HIV prevention and care initiatives – even as HIV caseloads in Black America have risen sharply.

What's wrong with this picture?

My two sources for this posting were: Blackaids.org and an article written by James Withers at 365Gay Blog