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article imageWill Obama address the AIDS-pandemic among black Americans?

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By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 18, 2009 in Health
Of all the ethnic groups in the United States of America, HIV-AIDS has hit African-Americans the hardest. Black people, 13% of the US population, show 49% of the HIV-infection rates. And these Centres for Disease Control statistics date from 2005.
Things are a lot worse now - mainly because the HIV-AIDS pandemic amongst African-Americans is not being openly dealt with in most of the main-stream news media. nor by the majority of their own leaders. Poor blacks also often cannot afford testing, nor the expensive antiretrovirals required.
The latest available statistics from the Centres for Disease Control -- which is also being very politically correct by blaming the high incidence of HIV-AIDS among black Americans on 'poverty', -- noted that while black people account for about 13% of the US population, they are 49% of the people who have HIV-AIDS in the United States of America. see
However their scientists have also discovered that African-Americans, due to their African bloodlines, are often afflicted with the much more deadly version of the human-immune deficiency virus which is also killing so many Africans. The Bush cabinet's foreign affairs minister, Condoleeza Rice, poured billions into the epidemic on the African continent. However there seems to be a rather embarrassing public silence about the HIV-AIDS epidemic which so greatly afflicts African-Americans, too. Also see
How is president Barack Obama going to deal with the HIV-AIDS epidemic devastating the African-American community? From his public statements thus far, it''s not at all clear as yet: Obama did hold his controversial 'Race Against Time' speech on World AIDS Day in 2006 at an evangelist church whose (white) minister Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California had launched an HIV-AIDS fund-raising campaign after visiting Africa and seeing the devastation the epidemic was causing.
America's next president also decried the way the virus was killing so many millions of Africans - see But he did not speak publicly at that time about the HIV-AIDS epidemic inside the African-American community. That following year, he did come out in support of the Ryan White Care Act, to provide critical access to antiretroviral treatment and -care to 'half a million low income Americans with HIV-AIDS', and to provide adequate housing for AIDS-afflicted families under the Hopwa housing programme. But again, there were no public statements which said it out loud: that HIV-AIDS was afflicting the African-American community the most.
Again, he did not address the issue of the HIV-AIDS epidemic among African-Americans by name.
He instead addressed himself mostly to the 'global AIDS pandemic'. see
Culture of promiscuity
The few African-American religious leaders who do address this sexually-transmitted, deadly disease outbreak amongst their own congregations head-on, often also openly blame the 'culture of promiscuity' among African-Americans for the rapid spread of this killer virus in their own community. This problem is also the main cause for the rapid spread of the HIV-AIDS pandemic in Africa.
Some controversial African Americans such as Rev Jeremiah Wright, the, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, say that HIV-AIDS was 'created'.See here .
Testing programme for HIV-AIDS
While he probably was rather unwise to say such things during an election year, Rev Wright also must be commended for being one of the very few influential religious leaders inside the African-American community to also openly urge his entire congregation to have themselves tested for the virus, showing them exactly how to do it while testing himself first. See this video here.
There is a proliferation of websites by black Americans who, like Wright, are also blaming AIDS on a US biological warfare research programme at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Some even publish what US officials say were faked-up documents of congressional funding for such a programme in 1970.
see here and here None of their public concerns are being openly addressed in the main-stream news media right now. A public information programme clearly is urgently needed to address their fears.
Black religious leaders in the USA, such as rev. Calvin Butts, also say that whenever the mainstream news media does reports about the HIV-AIDS problem in the USA, they always show white HIV-positive, often homosexual individuals - which does not help their problem.
Rev Butts says it's high time the black religious community recognises this problem and starts dealing with it aggressively and openly. Rev Eugene Rivers of Boston, who heads a small congregation in one of the poorest areas of Boston, is also addressing the issue head-on.
Silence about HIV-AIDS is suicide
He says in his sermons to his small congregation that 'silence about HIV-AIDS is suicide, because our black young people are dying unnecessary.' The rest of his message also is none too popular:
"The media bombards people with a culture of promiscuity which was 'entirely created by African Americans', he warns. "The black community has created this problem by its popularising public licentiousness.'
Another black leader, Dr. James Haney, also spoke on this video with R. Crowder, founder of Street Works in Chicago, and one of the leading educators on the HIV-AIDS pandemic.
Crowder points out that his outreach programme workers are travelling the streets and aggressively seeking out possibly HIV-infected people, encouraging them to get themselves tested and get into treatment programmes. "When we do Outreach on the street at night, we take oral swabs and can have the results in two days. If the person does not have to wait the traditional two weeks for the results to come back, it helps.'
Many black Americans also say that they are increasingly unhappy with the fact that while billions of dollars are being sent to Africa to deal with the HIV-AIDS epidemic on that continent, the US government does not allocate nearly as many funds to try and deal with the problem at home.
Crowder says for some reason African Americans 'have never been able to deal with the fact that they have more HIV-AIDS than people of other race-groups in the USA.'
"It now has become a real problem among African Americans. HIV is a very individual virus and comes in many strains, and some strains kill faster than others. When one hears of some famous black entertainer dying of HIV-AIDS, people often don't realise that he's probably had it for years. It's a disease which often does not show itself for years. Testing is the only way to find out if you have it or not.'
The Centres for Disease says that HIV-positive black people often don’t live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups who are HIV+. The CDC notes that for African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is now a leading cause of death.
In 2005, about half (49%) of the people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were black (according to information from 33 states). Children are included in these data.
The CDC also notes that 'the reality is similar for children: HIV/AIDS affects black children the most. In 2005, 104 (63%) of the 166 children under the age of 13 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 33 states were black. "
Blacks account for about half of all people living with HIV/AIDS within each sex category from information gleaned from 33 states during 2005, The reality is that these statistics are probably very understated - many people do not get themselves tested for HIV-AIDS.
For black women and men, the most common ways of getting HIV are having unprotected sex with an HIV-infected man or woman; sharing injection drug works (like needles or syringes) with an HIV-infected person.
see
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