Raleigh News & Observer Profiles UNC Researcher Who Investigates Social Factors Behind Higher HIV/AIDS Rates for Blacks
The Raleigh News & Observer on Sunday profiled University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill medical researcher Adaora Adimora, who has investigated why HIV/AIDS seems to affect blacks more than members of other races and ethnicities (Niolet, Raleigh News & Observer, 9/21). According to the latest available figures reported by CDC, blacks in 2006 had the highest HIV/AIDS incidence rate of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. They accounted for 46% of all new infections, although they account for 12% of the U.S. population (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 9/12).
Adimora began researching social forces and HIV/AIDS in the mid-1990s. Her research, unlike traditional studies that examine individual risk factors and the mechanics of the disease, focuses on how social conditions affect individual behavior. According to her findings, social factors such as poverty, discrimination, residential segregation by race, and incarceration rates contribute to blacks having a higher risk of HIV/AIDS.
Adimora and other UNC faculty testified at a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing last week (Raleigh News & Observer, 9/21). At the hearing, CDC officials said they would need an additional $4.8 billion dollars over the next five years to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections in the U.S. Panelists also called for additional HIV prevention and education programs that target blacks, Hispanics and men who have sex with men (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 9/17). Congress would have to address issues of inequality to curb the spread of the disease among minority populations, Adimora said at the hearing. "The absence of social justice is a major root cause of many of the racial disparities in health that we're seeing," she added (Raleigh News & Observer, 9/21).