CDC Director Gerberding Calls for Increase in HIV Prevention Efforts for Black CommunityCDC Director Julie Gerberding on Friday at a forum in Oakland, Calif., said that more money is needed to fight HIV/AIDS in the black community, particularly among black men who have sex with men, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
"We have not succeeded in our prevention efforts," Gerberding said at the meeting, which was hosted by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). She added, "You have to scale the money to the scope of the problem. The pie is only so big right now. What we need is a bigger pie."
Although 13% of the U.S. population is black, the group makes up about 50% of people living with HIV, the Chronicle reports. Among young people newly diagnosed between 2001 and 2005, 61% were black, and 48% of cases among black men were linked to sex with other men. HIV/AIDS rates among black men were seven times higher than those among white men in 2005, according to CDC.
The Bush administration has proposed reducing CDC's budget request for HIV prevention and surveillance funding by $1 million to $691 million in the upcoming fiscal year. According to the Chronicle, Gerberding often testified before Congress that she wanted more money for CDC than was requested by her superiors in the administration. She requested $7.2 billion for the agency last year, but the budget was reduced to $5.9 billion.
In response to HIV/AIDS in the black community, Lee said that she is again calling on the federal government to declare a "national public health emergency." She added, "We need to make sure not only that resources are increased, but are targeted to where they are needed most."
George Lemp, director of the Universitywide AIDS Research Program at the University of California, said studies from the early 1990s repeatedly found that HIV was spreading twice as fast among black MSM than among white MSM but that prevention programs were not reaching young black men. "Our interventions are targeting the wrong people, in the wrong places and at the wrong time of day," he said (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.