As a ten year old girl I knew what HIV, AIDS, and homosexuality was. My uncle had been a victim of the disease from the 80’s and passed away in the early 90’s. From that moment when my mother walked into the room and told me her youngest brother had left us, knots of sadness and sorrow ran throughout my body. He was the first close relative to die in my lifetime and he departed in such immeasurable blind pain. What seemed to have been a virus people knew very little about and was brought to light because of its big impact on the gay male community has turned its course since the first reported cases some 25 years ago.
Last night as I watched the ABC News Primetime special report with Terry Moran, Out of Control: AIDS in Black America, I felt the same sadness, sorrow and even anger swell and boil inside. The statistics took my breath away, each commercial break catching my breath only to have it stolen again. The hour-long show questioned why black leaders and celebrities aren’t doing enough to address the AIDS issue right here at home. Africa’s AIDS community has been a focal area for many while the virus among black Americans has been far too hush-hush. The show touches on how AIDS has evolved away from being perceived as a “homosexual disease” and states some very disturbing factors at why so many black women are at risk. According to their report, almost 70 percent of all newly-diagnosed women with HIV in the United States are black women and they are 23 times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS than white women. The infection rate among black Americans as a whole is eight times the rate of whites.
What I experienced watching Terry Moran, Peter Jennings, T.D. Jakes and other reputable figures in the black community talk about was upsetting, but it was a very well-done piece on the ignorance that has lead so many people to this point. And it provided some knowledge to hopefully keep them from continuing. My only regret is that I didn’t live blog this one, but I’m hoping several people caught this show. If not, check out ABS News online for a summary with facts on AIDS in Black America. For additional information I also recommend visiting the Black AIDS Institute online. Another good general site to check out is this brief history and timeline on AIDS/HIV.
Author by Adrienne Wilson