Stigma Surrounding HIV/AIDS ‘Still Common’ in African-American Communities, Columnist Says
In some African-American communities, the stigma of homosexuality and injection drug use is an "enormous obstacl[e] to educating the community," and secrecy about HIV/AIDS "is still common," columnist Chip Johnson writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. Former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who announced that he is HIV-positive in 1991 and who is currently appearing in a GlaxoSmithKline advertising campaign aimed at urban blacks for the antiretroviral drug Combivir, recently gave a private address to 1,000 people at an Oakland, Calif., church, Johnson writes. Johnson adds that Magic Johnson's decision to deliver his speech in private reflects a "cultural attitude that has allowed [HIV] to spread among black Americans at a faster rate than among any other group in the country." Johnson concludes that "with so many new AIDS cases in minority communities, it's clear that the secret is out and it's time for frank discussions about the disease in the family and community" (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.