New York Times Profiles Women Working To Draw Attention to HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among African-American Women in Harlem, N.Y.
The New York Times on Tuesday profiled several AIDS advocates from the borough of Harlem in New York City who are working to draw attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African-American women in their area. According to the Times, Marie Saint Cyr, who runs Iris House -- a support center for HIV-positive women in Harlem -- "sees daily what some politicians apparently cannot: HIV and AIDS have increased to crisis proportions among African-American and Hispanic women" (Gonzalez, New York Times, 10/19). During the vice presidential debate on Oct. 5, PBS news correspondent Gwen Ifill, who moderated the debate, said to Cheney, "I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their [white] counterparts. What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?" Both Cheney and Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards shifted the conversation to foreign HIV/AIDS policy and general health care policy when asked what the U.S. government should do to curb HIV/AIDS prevalence among black women in the United States. While Cheney said he was "not aware" that black women are 13 times as likely to die of AIDS-related causes as white women, Edwards said that HIV/AIDS prevention in the United States is part of the "bigger question" about the future of health care in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/8).
Desire for More Focus on United States
Brenda Lee, a nearly 60-year-old HIV-positive AIDS advocate who is looking to establish a group for older women with the disease, has "no time for nonsense ... [or] for political games," according to the Times. "I don't know why everybody is freaking out," she said, adding, "Government is not concerned about poverty, low income or, God forbid, HIV. They could care less. That's why I'm not marching on Washington with anybody." Sylvia Ocasio, who has been HIV-positive for 10 years, said she has "little patience" for people who want to talk about fighting HIV/AIDS in Asia or Africa, according to the Times. "My backyard doesn't face the Ivory Coast," she said, adding, "My backyard is in Harlem. I don't give a twiddle about anybody but me and mine. This is my survival kit, not Africa's. They're not doing anything for me" (New York Times, 10/19).