Worse than you thought

by on July 20, 2012  •  In Health, Race

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The impact of AIDS on the African-American community is even worse than most people think it is. As the International AIDS Conference prepares to begin, new reports detail the statistics. A study from the Black AIDS Institute – Back of the Line: The State of AIDS Among Black Gay Men in America –  states that Black gay men in the U.S. have a staggering 1 in 4 chance of becoming infected with HIV, and the rate of new infections in that population is rising. This level of disease burden is comparable to that in impoverished Third World nations.From the report:

Black gay men’s higher risk of HIV does not stem from higher levels of risk behavior. Rather, their disproportionate risk of HIV can be traced to their poor access to health services, a high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, and early patterns of sexual behavior among young gay men.

No one has responded to this health crisis with the urgency it warrants. Federal agencies don’t even track HIV resources focused on Black gay men, and state and local governments badly under-prioritize prevention and treatment services for Black gay men. Neither Black America nor the LGBT community has made the fight against AIDS among Black gay men a priority. And only a handful of private foundations remain engaged in the AIDS fight.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the population group second most likely to become HIV infected is Black women.  The rate of infection among Black men is roughly eight times that among white men; the rate among Black women is almost four times that among white men.

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