‘More Vigorous’ Leadership by Black Public Officials Needed To Fight HIV/AIDS Within Black Community, Opinion Piece Says
Although the HIV/AIDS epidemic has "taken hold in black America," the disease "can be prevented and sent packing," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) writes in a Louisiana Weekly opinion piece. According to Norton, blacks comprise 12% of the U.S. population but account for 50% of HIV/AIDS cases. The "myths and stereotypes" that surround HIV "have fed the virus," she writes, adding that people "have allowed it to thrive in the shadows, with too little open discussion and leadership to conquer it."
For this reason, Norton dedicated last year to "breaking through the silence" on HIV/AIDS with a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., she writes. The meetings were "no-holds-barred" discussions, led by "well-known, popular" figures, according to Norton. She adds that the meetings highlighted the importance of practicing safer sex and "knowing your partner," as well as universal HIV testing.
HIV/AIDS has "gone mainstream" among blacks in the U.S., and the disease "can no longer be marginalized," Norton writes. She adds that the virus is a "human tragedy we can turn around." However, "it will take far more vigorous and visible leadership from African-American public officials and other leaders, and more candor, courage and care for one another by us all," she concludes (Norton, Louisiana Weekly, 3/17).