Conference to Address HIV Education Among African Americans
Expanding HIV prevention efforts to the African-American community will be the focus of a conference scheduled for Sept. 28 in Pittsburgh, Pa., the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. CDC statistics indicate that blacks are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV and die from AIDS-related causes than whites. Although blacks make up less than 13% of the U.S. population, they represent more than 56% of new HIV infections in the country. Linda Frank, assistant professor of infectious disease and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh, said, "We want to increase awareness about those rates not just among health care providers, but we want all the representatives of the communities of color to understand about the [need] for HIV information and the importance for primary and secondary prevention." Dr. Stephen Thomas, director of the Center for Minority Health at the university's graduate school of public health, added, "Unfortunately, in the black community, Magic Johnson is still the best-known person with HIV and yet he looks good. ... What people don't realize is that Magic Johnson has access to the best medical care money can buy. To fight this disease you need to have access to good health care." Thomas added that many initiatives, including safe sex messages, public health interventions and needle-exchange programs, need to be "tailored" to African Americans. The conference, titled "HIV/AIDS in the African-American Community: Reducing Health Disparities," will address how to deliver prevention messages to the African-American community and how to "mobilize black churches" to help educate their congregations and others about HIV/AIDS (Fabregas, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.