News / Health

HIV/AIDS Stigmatized Among African-Americans

HIV/AIDS Stigmatized Among African-Americansi
X
Carol Pearson
July 21, 2014 5:45 PM
African-Americans bear the brunt of the HIV crisis in the United States. They are more frequently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and more likely to die from this disease than any other racial or ethnic group in the country. There are many reasons, but as VOA's Carol Pearson reports, stigma is a major factor.
Carol Pearson

African-Americans bear the brunt of the HIV crisis in the United States. They are more frequently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and more likely to die from this disease than any other racial or ethnic group in the country. There are many reasons, but stigma plays a large role.

Testing involves a mere swab of the gums. The process takes only 10 seconds. It could save a life or prevent passing on an infection. It could stem an HIV epidemic in the African-American community.

But stigma - a sense of shame or disgrace - gets in the way.

African-Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population but account for 44 percent of the new cases of HIV, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are many reasons. Poverty, which limits access to health care, is one, and so is a lack of information about the disease. Timothy Harrison with the Department of Health and Human Services says stigma "is a huge part of what is deterring people from getting tested, and if they test positive, it may deter them from being linked to care or staying in care."

Outreach

The U.S. government has a number of programs to reach out to African-Americans. One is National HIV Testing Day.

"If you know your HIV status, you are more likely to take care of yourself, and you are least likely to transmit the virus to somebody else," Harrison said.

Howard University, a historically African-American college, addressed the issue of stigma at a conference last year. Sohail Rana was one of the panelists. Rana said he has seen patients die because of stigma.

"You attach stigma to any illness, you make its outcome 300 percent worse," Rana told VOA.

Overcoming fear

Civil rights organizations and African-American churches led the movement for equality in the 1960's, but they have been slow to join the movement against HIV/AIDS in the African-American community because of conservative beliefs about homosexuality, sex and IV drug use. That is now changing.

Shavon Arline-Bradley, who directs the health programs at the NAACP, the oldest civil rights group in the U.S., said the NAACP has a program specifically to work with African-American religious leaders.

"What we have decided to do was to identify what messages resonate with parents, what messages resonate with faith leaders and the message is this: there are people dying and you should care. Lives are being lost. You have to care,” she told VOA.

U.S. health agencies are working to get out the information that HIV is preventable, that testing is essential, and HIV is not a death sentence.

The website AIDS.gov says, "Unless the course of the epidemic changes, at some point in their lifetime, an estimated one in 16 black men and one in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection." These rates are at least eight times higher than those for whites.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid