Hiv aids in the African American community

The African American Community is facing a major health crisis called HIV/AIDS. This disease has become a pandemic in the African American Community. South Africa alone has 5. 7 million people living with HIV and AIDS in 2009, more than any other country. Almost one-in-three women aged 25-29, and over a quarter of men aged 30-34, are living with HIV (Human Sciences Research Council, 2009). Although African Americans make up 12% of the U. S. population, they accounted for half of the new HIV infections reported in 2001.

Research shows that many new infections occur among young African Americans. This paper will use information from research to show why this disease has plagued the African American Community, and what is being done to thwart the pandemic. HIV/AIDS has become a major health problem in the African American Community, where men and women of any age and sexual orientation are affected. In 2007 Blacks accounted for 49% of the estimated 35,962 AIDS cases diagnosed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Studies show the following (Brown, 2003): African American men account for forty three percent of HIV cases reported among men in 2001. Thirty two percent of African American men who have sex with men were found to be infected with HIV in a recent multi-city study of men ages 23 to 29 years, compared to fourteen percent of Latinos and seven percent of whites in the study. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the leading cause of HIV infection among African American men is sexual contact with other men, followed by injection drug use and heterosexual contact (Brown, 2003).

Amongst African American women: …they accounted for almost sixty four percent of HIV 1 cases reported among women in 2001. The rate of HIV infection among African American women, ages 20 to 44, in 25 states with HIV reporting before 1994, was 80. 1 per 100,000 populations from 1994 to 1998–four times higher than the rates among Latinos of the same age, and more than 16 times higher than the rates among white women (CDC, 2003). Data suggest the leading cause of HIV infection amongst African American women is heterosexual contact, followed by injection drug use.

When compared to their white counterparts, African American women were seven times more likely to be infected with HIV, and African American men were four times more likely to be infected (CDC, 2003). Some may question why Black Americans are disproportionately affected by AIDS in America. Here is one major reason: In the early years, the media portrayed AIDS as disease of white gay men. Black Americans were given few reasons to believe it would affect them, even though black men made up a large proportion of the early cases of AIDS in the gay and bisexual communities.

Once this lack of awareness was addressed by gay community groups and the first gay black AIDS activist Reggi Williams in the 1980’s, organizations were formed to address this issue in the black community. African Americans are facing challenges when it comes to access to health care, prevention services, and treatment. According to the CDC (2003), a study of 9,113 patients in eleven U. S. cities found that HIV–infected African Americans were less likely than infected Whites to receive the life-enhancing anti-retroviral therapies for HIV.

African Americans are also more likely to face challenges other than race and ethnicity in the HIV pandemic. The risk of HIV is prevalent in this community, especially among those poverty stricken persons and disadvantaged youth. People with low income and who fall below the poverty level may have challenges when it comes to access to healthcare. Without the proper knowledge and education, partners are at risk and other sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent.

To date, over 225,000 African Americans have died of AIDS – nearly 40% of total deaths – and of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States of America today, around half are black. And yet, as a racial group, African Americans represent just 12% of the US population. The estimated lifetime risk of becoming infected with HIV is 1 in 16 for black males, and 1 in 30 for black females, a far higher risk than for white males (1 in 104) and white females (1 in 588). 1 In Washington D.

C, which has the nation’s highest district HIV prevalence (3%), 76 % of those infected are African American (U. S. National Institutes of Health, 2010). The Centers for Disease Control is committed to partnering with African American Communities to ensure that appropriate HIV prevention programs are developed and designed for high risk African Americans. The CDC funds hundreds of community based organizations for HIV prevention programs to reach African Americans across the nation (CDC, 2003). A sustained effort to tackle AIDS should have positive results in the African American community.

South Africa alone is embarking on a campaign to test fifteen million people for HIV/AIDS, and plans to secure funding to provide more access to the life saving anti-retroviral drugs. A collective effort will make progress in tacking HIV/AIDs among African Americans.

References Brown, G. (2003). HIV/AIDS among African Americans and US women: minority and young women. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from website: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0MJV/is_4_10/ai_n6138580/ CDC (2003). HIV/AIDS among African Americans and US women: minority and young women.

Retrieved May 2, 2010, from website: HIV/AIDS among African Americans. (2009). Retrieved May 2, 2010, from website: http://www. cdc. gov/hiv/topics/aa/resources/factsheets/aa. htm HIV and African Americans. (2010). Retrieved May 2, 2010, from website: http://www. avert. org/hiv-african-americans. htm Human Sciences Research Council (2009). HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Retrieved May 23, 2010, from website: http://www. avert. org/aidssouthafrica. htm U. S. National Institute of Health. (2010). Retrieved May 2, 2010, from website: http://www. avert. org/hiv-african-americans. htm.

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