Irish Musician Bono Urges Lawmakers, Community Leaders To Address Spread of HIV/AIDS in the Black Community
Irish musician and international HIV/AIDS advocate Bono on Friday in Oakland, Calif., met with HIV/AIDS organizations, religious leaders and HIV-positive residents and then participated in a news conference to address HIV/AIDS in the black community, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Bono was invited by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to visit the Bay Area to discuss HIV/AIDS awareness among the black community. Bono called East Oakland the "epicenter" of new wave of HIV infections, adding, "But I'd also say we're also at the epicenter of the resistance to that epidemic" (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/3). According to the Alameda County Department of Public Health 2005 AIDS Epidemiology Report, 44% of the more than 6,800 AIDS cases in the county from 1980 to 2005 were among black residents (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 3/2). Bono, who has raised money to address HIV/AIDS in Africa, said the HIV/AIDS epidemic in low-income communities in the U.S. is similar to that of developing countries (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/3). Poverty and the resulting "emasculation" are one of the causes behind the spread of HIV, as men sometimes engage in risky behaviors to counter their feelings about their economic situation, Bono said. "These are very human responses," he said, noting that churches are essential in addressing the HIV/AIDS rate in the black community (Richman, Contra Costa Times, 3/3). "In Africa, the church was at the forefront of educating the public. It's hard for the church to talk about sexuality, but it's critical," Bono said. In a news conference after the meeting, Bono said, "I'm just at the beginning of a conversation, really. I just started it today. I want to understand" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.