Newspapers Publish Opinion Pieces on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Several newspapers published opinion pieces responding to the awareness day. Summaries appear below.
- Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: U.S. blacks "need to stay reminded that HIV/AIDS is a scourge that shows no signs of going anywhere," columnist Armstrong writes in a Daily News opinion piece, adding that blacks are "getting walloped especially hard" by the epidemic. According to Armstrong, it is "mind-boggling" that black people are more likely to become HIV-positive than whites (Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News, 2/7).
- Jarvis DeBerry, New Orleans Times-Picayune: "To divide and conquer is classic military strategy, and if AIDS were a military strategist, he'd have the black community licked," columnist DeBerry writes in a Times-Picayune opinion piece. According to DeBerry, too many people have tried to fight the spread of HIV "by looking for bogeymen within the community when, for their health's sake, they ought to assume that everybody is a potential carrier of the disease and protect themselves accordingly." DeBerry writes that because HIV/AIDS is widespread in the black "family," people can "do one of two things about it. We can admit its presence and commit ourselves to fighting it together. Or we can bicker among ourselves and blame one another until there isn't any family left" (DeBerry, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 2/6).
- Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "The spread of AIDS and HIV is the biggest public health emergency ever faced by blacks in this country," columnist Norman writes in a Post-Gazette opinion piece. "Why, after more than two decades ... are AIDS and HIV still taboo subjects in communities that can least afford to ignore them?" Norman asks, adding that "pretending" that HIV only affects other people "is a tragic fantasy" (Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/6).
- Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald: The "main reason" that HIV/AIDS is so prevalent among blacks in the U.S. "is the silence, the closed-mouth social conservatism" and the "priggish moral rectitude of a people still ill at ease discussing sexuality, homosexuality, drug use and other realities," columnist Pitts writes in a Herald opinion piece. He adds that the black community needs to "pull its collective head out of the sand" and "quit pretending homosexuality does not exist" and that injection drug use "does not exist" (Pitts, Miami Herald, 2/5).