Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials, Opinion Pieces in Advance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day
President Bush during the State of the Union address on Wednesday pledged to fight the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African-American community. Bush also asked Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act "to encourage prevention and provide care and treatment" to people living with the disease. "And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases: African-American men and women," Bush said (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/3). Bush's remarks come in advance of the fifth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day on Feb. 7, which is a "national mobilization effort" to get African Americans across the country to "get educated, get tested and get involved" with HIV/AIDS issues, according to a NBHAAD release (NBHAAD release, 1/20). Several newspapers have recently published editorials and opinion pieces about HIV/AIDS among African Americans, some of which are summarized below.
- San Francisco Chronicle: Although the United States has "witnessed a success story" with HIV/AIDS in the past 20 years, the "grim side" is that the epidemic has become "a black disease" in the country, a Chronicle editorial says. The "distrust" about the origin of the disease among African Americans, as well as "the delusion it breeds," remains "a hurdle to eradicating" HIV/AIDS, according to the Chronicle. "Changing this mind-set will take a new approach," the editorial says, adding that antiretroviral drugs must become cheaper, schools need to offer comprehensive HIV/AIDS education and needle-exchange programs must be "taken seriously" as a means of prevention. "It would be wrong for the nation to come this far in the fight against AIDS and not finish the task," the Chronicle concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/3).
- Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: African American church leaders "have the power of the pulpit" to "reverse" the way HIV/AIDS is "ravaging their flock," Diuguid, a member of the Star's editorial board, writes in an opinion piece. Many HIV-positive blacks "largely suffer in silence because of inaction from churches and groups that could offer comfort, help and ways to keep the disease from spreading," according to Diuguid. "Alone, people don't stand a chance," Diuguid writes, concluding, "But if people work together, AIDS can be defeated. That unity has to be our new black history" (Diuguid, Kansas City Star, 2/2).