African Americans in Georgia Disproportionately Affected by HIV/AIDS, Reports Say
African Americans in Georgia are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, contracting the disease at more than twice the rate of whites, according to a new state health disparity report on HIV/AIDS, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. In response to World AIDS Day on Wednesday, Georgia's Office of Minority Health and the National Center for Primary Care of the Morehouse School of Medicine on Tuesday released the report, titled "Georgia Minority Health and Health Disparities Report: Facing a Crisis," and called for "more aggressive" health education and intervention efforts among minority populations (Guthrie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1). The report shows that Georgia blacks in 2002 represented about 29% of the state's population but accounted for 64% of the reported AIDS cases in the state. In all categories -- gender, age, urban, suburban and rural -- blacks are more likely than whites to be HIV-positive and die of AIDS-related issues ("Georgia Minority Health and Health Disparities Report: Facing a Crisis," 11/30). About two-thirds of Georgians with AIDS live in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and thousands of HIV-positive people in the area are estimated to be homeless, according to the Journal-Constitution (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1). "This striking divide between blacks and whites was more dramatic in Georgia than in other states," David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care, said, adding, "Since 2000, (it) has really become predominantly an epidemic of people of color. And now increasingly women of color is a major concern" (Corwin, Augusta Chronicle, 12/1).
African Americans Say HIV/AIDS Leading Health Problem
Nearly three-quarters of African Americans living in Georgia say that HIV/AIDS is a more urgent problem for the state than it was a few years ago, compared with 39% of whites, according to a survey, titled "Survey of Georgia Residents on HIV/AIDS," released on Tuesday by NCPC and the Kaiser Family Foundation. African Americans in Georgia also are more pessimistic than their white counterparts about U.S. progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS; 62% of African Americans say the United States is losing ground, compared with 39% of whites, according to the survey. Overall, Georgians ranked HIV/AIDS as the second most urgent health problem facing the nation behind cancer, but African Americans in Georgia ranked HIV/AIDS as the first most urgent health issue, according to the survey (NCPC/Morehouse School of Medicine/Kaiser Family Foundation release, 11/30). Mollyann Brodie, vice president and director of public opinion and media research for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that the heavier burden of disease on the black community might explain why more African Americans than whites feel that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a more urgent problem now than a few years ago. "There really is an opening for action on this issue," Brodie said (Augusta Chronicle, 12/1). Denise Stokes, an HIV/AIDS advocate who has been HIV-positive for 22 years, said she can no longer politely insist on more funding, resources and programs to fight the epidemic. "We have failed miserably at being human beings," she said, adding, "We draw lines and take sides and stand by and watch people die, saying, 'That doesn't concern me.' We have not honored that bond that makes us human" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1).