HIV/AIDS and African-Americans
By Ronald Turner
The epidemic of persons infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus ("HIV"), the virus which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ("AIDS"), continues to be a critical problem facing the nation and many individuals in African-American communities. Consider the following data:
-- Black women comprise two-thirds of all HIV infection cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-- AIDS (not homicide, cancer, or heart disease) is the leading cause of death among Black persons between the ages of 25 and 44.
-- Fifty eight percent of all children in the United States with AIDS are Black; two-thirds of new pediatric AIDS cases involving children under the age of 13 are Black children; and the number of African-American children infected with HIV is greater than the number of infected children of all other races combined.
-- Forty one percent of all persons with AIDS in the United States are African-American. Extrapolating from current trends, by the year 2005 Blacks will account for more than 60 percent of all infected persons.
-- In 1995, the African-American rate of AIDS related to injection drug use was 50.9 per 100,000 in population; the corresponding rate for whites was 3.5 per 100,000.
-- A recent public opinion survey of 811 randomly selected African-American adults, conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, revealed the following: 56 percent of African-Americans polled responded that AIDS was a serious problem for persons they knew; 50 percent were concerned about being infected with HIV (24 percent of a sample of the national population had the same concern); 49 percent knew persons who had HIV or had died from AIDS; 52 percent believed that AIDS is the nation's leading health problem; and approximately 66 percent of all respondents said that government spending on AIDS was insufficient.