Government, Social Service Agencies Losing Interest in AIDS as Disease Affects More Minorities, Meeting Attendees Say
The American Foundation for AIDS Research 16th National HIV/AIDS Update Conference on Tuesday held a public "town meeting" to discuss how to "reignite the AIDS movement," recruit "fresh faces" to the fight, convince elected officials to increase funding for the disease and reach out to the public, particularly minority communities, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports (McVicar, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 3/31). The Florida/Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center cosponsored the National HIV/AIDS Update Conference, which also served as the 13th Annual Florida HIV Conference. The conference was held for the second consecutive year in Miami -- after being held in San Francisco for 14 years -- to continue to direct attention to the growing epidemic in the Southeastern United States (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/29). Many of the speakers at the meeting said that as the epidemic has shifted over the past 20 years from primarily white men who have sex with men to blacks, Hispanics and other minorities, governments and community leaders have "lost interest in fighting it," according to the Miami Herald. New AIDS cases have shifted from being 59% non-Hispanic white, 25% black and 15% Hispanic in 1982 to 43% non-Hispanic white, 38% black and 19% Hispanic in 2001, according to CDC. "The money has dried up because AIDS is looking different these days," Rev. D.Mrtri Crafton Cato-Watson, pastor of Harris Chapel Methodist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said, adding, "AIDS research would never have come as far as it did in the 80s if AIDS had had a black face then." Doralba Munoz of Union Positive, a Miami-based Hispanic support group, said that Latino leaders must "decide where we fit in the fight against AIDS," adding that the Congressional Black Caucus has been much more active than the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Tasker, Miami Herald, 3/31). Webcasts of select sessions of the conference are available online from kaisernetwork.org.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.