Black Women Need To Establish Forum for HIV/AIDS Issues, Columnist Says
While black women are "in the midst of a deadly epidemic" -- HIV/AIDS -- there is not enough discussion about the disease, Philadelphia Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong writes. The leading cause of death for black females ages 25 to 34 is AIDS-related illnesses, and black women are 13 times more likely to die from AIDS-related complications than white women, according to Armstrong. However, there is no "sense of urgency" among black women, health officials or government agencies to address or discuss the issue, Armstrong writes. "So, why aren't we talking about it more? And why do so many of us continue to act as if this isn't our problem?" she says. According to Armstrong, some of black women's "complacency is the result of the scientific progress in the treatment of the disease," which gives the "misimpression that the disease is no longer the public health threat it once was." Actress and AIDS activist Sheryl Lee Ralph in Philadelphia at a luncheon discussing the issue concluded that ignorance, lack of self-esteem and mental health issues also contribute to the lack of discussion about HIV/AIDS among black women, Armstrong writes. Black women "really need to talk about a lot more" than they do concerning HIV/AIDS and "not just in formal forums, such as last week's luncheon, but also when we're talking to our friends or daughters or anyone else who needs a reminder about the importance of protecting yourself," Armstrong concludes (Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News, 1/16).