Majority of African Americans Say United States Is ‘Losing Ground’ in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Survey Shows
Fifty-six percent of African Americans say that the United States is "losing ground" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (Maltin, Cox/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/5). That is an increase of 18 percentage points since October 2003, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation release (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 8/4). Kaiser Family Foundation researchers designed the survey, titled "Survey of American on HIV/AIDS: Part Three -- Experiences and Opinions by Race/Ethnicity and Age," and analyzed the results. Princeton Survey Research Associates between March 15 and May 11 conducted phone interviews among a nationally representative sample of 2,902 respondents age 18 and older. The survey included an oversample of African-American and Latino respondents, and the results for all groups have been weighted to reflect their actual distribution in the nation ("Survey of Americans on HIV/AIDS: Part Three -- Experiences and Opinions by Race/Ethnicity and Age," August 2004). In comparison, 30% of Latinos and 33% of whites say that the United States is "losing ground" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to the survey. Overall, the public ranked HIV/AIDS as the second "most urgent health problem" in the United States behind cancer. However, 43% of African Americans, 31% of Latinos and 17% of whites ranked the disease as the most urgent problem.
Forty-three percent of African Americans, 30% of Latinos and 10% of whites say they are "personally very concerned" about contracting HIV. Sixty-six percent of African-American parents of children 21 or younger say they are "very concerned" about their children contracting the virus, while 46% of Latino and 26% of white parents are concerned about their children and HIV. Among African Americans, 64% said that they "personally know someone who currently has or has died from HIV/AIDS," compared with 42% of whites and 41% of Latinos. Sixty-one percent of young African-American adults ages 18-29 also said that they know someone who has or has died from HIV/AIDS, compared with 34% of white and 42% of Latino young adults. "The sense of urgency revealed in the survey should send a message to local leaders and especially elected officials that HIV is something that the African-American community really cares about," Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman said (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 8/4). At a briefing announcing the survey results, Phill Wilson, founder and executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, said that national and community minority organizations should put HIV/AIDS at the top of their agendas. "We're dealing with the No. 1 health crisis facing our community. ... Dead folks don't need equal rights, and dead folks don't need to go to college," he said (Cox/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/5). The survey results are the final segment in a three-part project. The first, released June 2, focused on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. The second part was released June 15 and examined U.S. residents' views of and experiences with HIV testing (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 8/4).