Blacks & HIV: Who’s Really To Blame?

A group of people talking at a casual eventEven though Blacks account for 14 percent of the population, they make up more than half of all new HIV infections.

Why?

After all these years, after all the studies, after all the PSAs, after all the information, it seems that we need to do a better job coming to terms with ourselves and why our community is still at risk.

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The Why’s…

  • More people need to use condoms more often (in casual, at-risk and long-term relationships)
  • More people need to be tested more often.
  • More people need to begin treatment immediately if they test positive.

Experts have even commented that many have difficulty embracing the concept of delayed gratification, which often leads to making riskier, more dangerous, and irresponsible choices.

However, changes in sexual behavior may only be part of the solution. Today’s HIV messages seem to insinuate that the reason blacks are still dealing with high HIV infection rates is because of sexual irresponsibility.

The Other Why’s…

As many policy makers are slowly realizing, behavior alone isn’t solely responsible for the current HIV crisis. The other factors include:

  • Poverty
  • Lower health literacy
  • Drug use (particularly intravenous)
  • Economic instability
  • Poor access to health care
  • Untreated STDs (which make people more vulnerable to contracting HIV)
  • Mistrust in the medical system
  • Gender inequality
  • Homophobia
  • Incarceration

This said, there’s a danger in linking HIV/AIDS to issues like the above, many of which stem from institutionalize racism and other issues that simply cannot and will not be reversed overnight.

But…it’s still important to realize that they do exist. And perhaps, with realization, comes change. And with change comes the societal cures that we really need, so that the black community doesn’t continue to fall victim to  the health crises that, also, will not disappear overnight.

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