National Medical Association Calls on Government To Tackle HIV/AIDS
The National Medical Association -- which represents 30,000 black physicians in the U.S. and other countries -- has called on the government to tackle HIV/AIDS, NMA President Albert Morris said at the association's annual Convention and Scientific Assembly, which is being held this week at the Hawaii Convention Center, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports.
Black women now represent the majority of women diagnosed with AIDS, and about 49% of people living with AIDS in the U.S. are black, Morris said, adding, "We issued a call of action to the federal government to re-examine this terrible, terrible epidemic." According to Morris, efforts against the disease are hindered because most HIV-positive people have the virus for about five years before being diagnosed. "There's a huge opportunity for them to infect lots of other people before they find out they have the disease," Morris said, adding, "Most people are responsible once they know they have the virus, but, if they don't know, they may be engaging in high-risk behavior." The association previously passed a resolution urging universal HIV testing among all U.S. residents seeking health care services, Morris said.
In addition, Morris said that prisons should provide inmates with HIV tests before their release because of the higher number of HIV cases among inmates compared with the general population. HIV/AIDS is among one of the major issues being discussed by the more than 4,000 delegates attending the conference. Other discussion topics included universal health care and medical school financing, the Star-Bulletin reports (Altonn, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 8/27).