Illinois Needs To Tailor HIV/AIDS Programs to Black Communities, State Health Director Says
Illinois needs to better tailor its HIV/AIDS prevention programs to specific black communities, Dr. Eric Whitaker, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said on Thursday during a joint hearing of the state House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the Chicago Tribune reports. Blacks in Chicago test HIV-positive at an average annual rate of 60 per 100,000, while whites test positive at a rate of 20 per 100,000, and Hispanics test positive at a rate of 21 per 100,000, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. State health officials say that blacks have a higher HIV prevalence rate because of the lack of effective prevention programs in black communities, according to the Tribune. "What works in East St. Louis might not work on the South or West Sides of Chicago," Whitaker said, adding that he prefers HIV/AIDS programs that work to prevent the spread of the disease rather than efforts to "salvage people" who are already HIV-positive, according to the Tribune. "Black people are not stupid," Rep. Monique Davis (D) said, adding, "They're not having any more sex than anybody else." Robin Miller, a professor of community and prevention research in the department of psychology at the University of Illinois-Chicago, said that many prevention programs have not even been tried in black communities. Miller added, "We're in a pretty sorry state in that we haven't even tested or imported these programs in these communities" (Steiner, Chicago Tribune, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.