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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid