African Americans ‘Disproportionately Impacted’ by HIV/AIDS in Indiana, State Health Department Says
Although African Americans make up only 8% of Indiana's total population, 40% of the state's 301 new AIDS cases reported last year were among African Americans, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Indiana State Department of Health, the Evansville Courier and Press reports. In 2000, African Americans accounted for 39% of new cases. "Even that 1% increase from 2000 to 2001 is scary," Michael Butler, state director of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, said, adding that Indiana's numbers are consistent with the national trend of African Americans being "disproportionately impacted" by HIV/AIDS.
Sorority Reaches Out
More than 950 chapters of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority are participating in an international health initiative focusing on HIV/AIDS and the African-American community. The Evansville Alumnae and Kappa Nu chapters of the sorority will sponsor an HIV/AIDS workshop on Jan. 8 in Evansville that will focus on HIV transmission and prevention, recognition of symptoms and how to access medical care. "We're putting emphasis on the African-American community and on what we need to do as a community to fight the disease," Stephanie Esters, vice president of the Evansville Alumnae chapter, said. The sorority plans to sponsor other HIV/AIDS awareness events in the coming months, including an AIDS rally and a prayer service in March. "[T]here is still a lot of denial and misinformation in the black community about how the disease is transmitted and what puts people at risk," Butler said, adding that there is "a lack of willingness to talk about HIV in the African-American community" (Johnson, Evansville Courier and Press, 1/3).