HIV & Race: What Doctors Know That You Don’t

Young couple listening to salesman on the couchFor as good of a country America is, we have some dark patches that are obvious. Slavery is high on the list; But then the disenfranchisement of the freed person in the South that followed from 1876 to 1963 made us liars. I mean it was the United States Supreme Court that declared separate but equal in 1896, after the country fought a war with slavery at the center.

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So I’m not confused when Black folk come to me with conspiracy theories about AIDS. Well, some of it is ridiculous, like when they say, “There’s a cure in Africa that our government is suppressing. Huh? If there was a cure in Africa, why wouldn’t the African people use it there, to hell with trying save someone else, when you can save yourself. Right?? Right!!! But then there are some half truths in some of what people are saying too; Really! At the end of the day, there are real reasons to mistrust the American government and all of its departments. The Tuskegee study is case in point.


Just the other day, I was taking to Bechara Choucair, the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public of Health about this very same topic. I shared with him that the African-American community fear is real and he and his team has to be there every step of the way reassuring us that our best interest is in their heart. But then I got tweeted a link this morning by one of my followers and she said in response, “It reminds me of the syphilis fiasco. Thoughts?,” What a way to start the day right back at the Tuskegee Study!

I grabbed a cup of tea and read the article. You can see the Full Story Here. I’m not gonna recant everything but rather explore the issue at hand. In a nut shell, during the early period of the AIDS epidemic the National Institutes of Health (NIH) enrolled children who were in foster care into AIDS drug studies.