‘Health Literacy’ Major Challenge in Fighting HIV/AIDS Among Poor, Minorities in U.S., Surgeon General Says
One of the biggest challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the United States is convincing people that they "can get it," U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said on Thursday in New Orleans at a symposium on health problems among poor and minority communities, the Associated Press reports. "In many minority and poor communities, people have not truly accepted that they can become infected with AIDS -- that they are not immune," Carmona said, adding that a lack of "health literacy" is largely responsible for the fact that AIDS disproportionately affects black and Hispanic communities. For example, blacks make up 32% of the population of Louisiana but about 75% of new HIV/AIDS cases in 1999, Carmona said. Carmona encouraged health workers at the conference, which was sponsored by the New Orleans Department of Health, to "[t]ake stock of your own work, your own expertise, your personal convictions, and decide what you can do to change these facts" (Associated Press, 11/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.