Absence of ‘Frank Talk’ About HIV/AIDS Hurts Black Women in Washington, D.C., Opinion Piece Says
"If ever there was a case for unvarnished sex education in public schools, the ongoing AIDS epidemic in black America ought to be it," columnist Courtland Milloy writes in a Washington Post opinion piece, adding, "[H]ow can we teach [HIV prevention] if we can't talk frankly?" Milloy writes that he is "focusing on women and AIDS ... because it's up to women to save their own lives" and that "too many men are not trying to protect" women from sexually transmitted infections. "Most of the time, they are just trying to have sex," he writes, adding, "Quite frankly, you would have thought more women would have caught on by now."
According to Milloy, "In the district, the number of women living with AIDS increased by more than 76 percent in six years -- nine out of 10 of them black women." He adds that AIDS-related illnesses are the fourth leading cause of death among black women ages 45 to 54, and 9% of all pediatric HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. occur in the district. "Blame the man all you want, but it's the mother and child who suffer most," he writes. "There's certainly no shortage of public service announcements aimed at reducing infection rates among African-Americans," Milloy writes, adding, "But most consist of preachy platitude, politically correct and 'culturally sensitive' pablum ... The results should not be surprising." He concludes that "in the absence of frank talk, we could at least help young girls ... by getting them to serve a few weeks at an AIDS hospice. Careless sex would likely lose its sheen once they realize that their lovers could be the Grim Reaper in disguise" (Milloy, Washington Post, 12/3).