Black women the largest group getting infected by AIDS in US

By Nobel Johns

BARCELONA, Spain (BNW) — One troubling fact coming from the AIDS conference in Barcelona Spain is that the largest number of new cases of AIDS in America are Black heterosexual women. For example, the majority of those infections — 75 percent — were in Black Americans, with Black women accounting for almost half the cases among heterosexuals between 1994 and 2000.

How can that be? when we as a community have known about AIDS for over twenty years!

Some say bisexual Black men are spreading AIDS to heterosexual Black women, and Black women who don't know they're dealing with these Black fags are the real victims. Unfortunately, Black fags who want to keep their sexual preference on the "Down Low" or in the closet, are spreading AIDS at an alarming rate in the Black community.

Others believe that Black women with dope shooting boyfriends are getting it from them. Whatever the case, it’s an embarrassment to our race to have known about AIDS for so long and is the largest group being infected by it in America today.

We must be stupid like the white man believes!

There’s another side to consider in this homosexual relationship and the increase of AIDS in the Black community. This situation with the gays and the increase of AIDS in the Black community appears to be a paradox.

For example, the Black community’s universal & historical condemnation of homosexuality may be the reason for the increase of AIDS infection in the Black community. Consider this; if the Black community was more tolerant of the homosexual life style, then gay men who are giving Black women AIDS would have long ago come out of the closet. As a result, their partners would know them for who they are, and take precautions in havng sex, or just leave them for their life style behavior. Does that make sense? Just a thought.

The United States must revive the passion it once had for tackling the AIDS epidemic, otherwise infection rates could start climbing again, the U.S. AIDS prevention chief said Sunday.

U.S. AIDS cases and HIV infections have remained fairly stable since 1998 at about 10,000 new infections every three months, but that overall stability may mask reported increases in HIV infections among heterosexuals, said Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 1 million Americans are infected with HIV, which causes AIDS.


AIDS activists say fight must continue

The lack of additional progress against the virus likely stems from several factors, including the large number of infected people who either do not know they have the virus or are not getting treatment.

``Today's epidemic is very different from the one we faced a decade ago. The populations at risk, the attitudes about infection and the science of HIV have all changed. And so must our prevention efforts,'' said Valdiserri, who presented new research at the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona.

More than 15,000 people from around the world have gathered here for the weeklong 14th International AIDS Conference, looking for solutions to an epidemic infecting 40 million people worldwide, more than half of them in Africa.

Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of the U.N. AIDS program, said Sunday there was no indication the epidemic is leveling off worldwide, and strategies known to prevent its spread still are grossly underused.

Scientific discoveries in HIV and AIDS also seem to be merely incremental, experts said. New drugs that do the same thing — but slightly better — are emerging, but there's no vaccine or blockbuster treatment around the corner.

Making more progress against HIV will require getting more people tested and treated early in their infection, and developing drugs that work better and are simpler to take, Valdiserri and other experts said.

However, the ultimate goal is to prevent infections from occurring in the first place.
Valdiserri presented research on new HIV infections in 25 states to provide a snapshot of the situation in the United States. There is no national HIV surveillance program, so complete nationwide figures do not exist.

The 25 states exclude California, New York and Florida and account for only one quarter of the HIV infections nationwide, he said.

Because 13- to 24-year-olds are more likely to have been recently infected, trends in this age group are a more accurate indicator of recent HIV infection patterns, Valdiserri said. Diagnoses among that group remained somewhat stable throughout 1994 to 2000.

``This seeming stability may not tell the whole story,'' Valdiserri said.

When the researchers examined the statistics by risk group instead of age group, a different picture emerged.

``There have been slow but steady increases among heterosexuals, with diagnoses increasing 10 percent between 1998 and 2000,'' he said.

While Latin Americans account for a low proportion of HIV cases in the 25 states studied, at a national level they are disproportionately affected.

The first step to making progress now is to recognize that the HIV epidemic is different today than it used to be, Valdiserri said.

There is a growing group of people infected with HIV who face a lifetime of maintaining safe sexual practices. Those people are living longer, healthier lives thanks to new treatments, and they continue having sex.

Valdiserri said research suggests that almost 70 percent of people recently diagnosed with HIV report being sexually active within the last year. Between 57 and 75 percent said they used a condom the last time they had sex.

For those without the disease, the growing pool of HIV infections means a greater chance of becoming infected and an even greater need to protect themselves, Valdiserri said.

``Americans ... don't have the same sense of urgency or crisis which characterized the early years of the epidemic,'' Valdiserri said. ``Some are becoming bored with HIV after 20 years, some are simply tired of the messages and behavior change. And many didn't realize they were signing on for a lifetime of condom use.''

Many people speak of complacency now that HIV is treatable, and some even are skeptical that further progress can be made in the United States, Valdiserri said.

``We can't sit back and wait for a vaccine. Instead, we must renew HIV prevention in the United States,'' he said.

``We must revive the passion with which the U.S. once faced the HIV epidemic, with a strong and pre-eminent focus on preventing the spread of the virus.''

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