National Congress Of Black Women Releases Outline for HIV/AIDS Initiative Aimed at Black Women
The National Congress of Black Women, a group founded in 1984 by C. DeLores Tucker to "organize [African-American women] for greater involvement in the political process," on Sunday released the "African-American Women and HIV/AIDS Initiative," a document that outlines the group's strategies to "land a fatal blow to the enemy" of HIV/AIDS. Although African Americans make up only 12% of the United States' population, they account for 37% of all AIDS cases in the country, with African-American women accounting for 63% of all women with AIDS, according to data from a 1999 National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention report. The NCBW report, prepared by Dr. Patricia Funderburk Ware, president and CEO of PFW Consultants, and Dr. Jacquelyn Jordan, assistant dean of the undergraduate program in Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences at Howard University, describes current and past efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the African-American community and analyzes why those efforts have not been successful by the NCBW's standards. Outlining new strategies, the report states that HIV/AIDS education is "imperative" and calls for "early, routine, and in some cases mandatory" HIV testing. Some of the report's other recommendations are outlined below:
- All states should be required by federal law to report all cases of HIV as well as AIDS;
- Federal funding and other resources should be allocated based on reported HIV and AIDS cases rather than on AIDS data alone;
- All states should have mandatory partner notification programs;
- Every state should be required to screen all pregnant women for HIV and test all newborns for the virus and Congress should appropriate funds to support such initiatives;
- Women must be "proportionally represented" in clinical trials and "[f]emale-specific" HIV/AIDS drugs need to be "expeditiously developed, tested and made available to women";
- Community-based groups run by African Americans should receive "[e]quitable funding" for HIV prevention and care, in addition to funds for sex education and the promotion of abstinence among youth.