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Published:April 5th, 2006 08:36 EST
Minorities and AIDS: A Burgeoning Pandemic

Minorities and AIDS: A Burgeoning Pandemic

By Tricia Spann

A deadly disease affects minority communities.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome first germinated during the mid to late 1970s, initially affecting gay men.  However, as time progressed, scientists realized the risk of acquiring AIDS exists for everyone-- no matter the age, gender, race or culture.

Yet, even with this global susceptibility to AIDS, minorities are at a higher risk. Statistics, researched by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), prove the extreme vulnerability of minorities to HIV/AIDS.  The center confirms that, by the end of 2003, blacks and Hispanics encompassed 64 percent of males living with AIDS, and 83 percent of females.  CDC also states that blacks remain ten times more likely to contract AIDS than whites, and the number of African-American gay men with AIDS exceeds the amount of white gay men.  In addition to these findings, research indicates African-American children comprise 71 percent of all AIDS cases in our country, and AIDS mortally affects black males as the prime cause of death among them.
These statistics induce a vast amount of fear. 

They lead to querying why so many minorities contract the deadly disease, and about precautions and actions taken to halt or impede the progression of AIDS in black and Hispanic communities.  When answering these questions, knowledge of specifically who in minority communities remains most at risk is pertinent.  According to CDC’s records, minority men and women of all ages and sexual preferences must protect themselves and cautiously approach sexual intimacy with any partner.

The data regarding the AIDS virus in minorities sounds alarming, yet hope dwells in those fighting the pandemic, particularly within organizations geared towards tackling the illness.  The National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities, Inc. stands out as a company committed to aiding African-Americans living with and without HIV/AIDS.  The committee notably serves minorities residing in the Atlanta community and works towards providing a “beacon of hope for those in need of love and understanding”, as stated on their website.  NAESM attempts to accomplish this goal by educating minorities about AIDS and providing social services and health care to people in the advanced stages of the virus.

Firmly dedicated to lowering AIDS cases in minorities, NAESM persists in achieving their objective alongside the National Minority AIDS Council.  Founded in 1987, NMAC devotes their efforts and time to battling HIV/AIDS in Hispanics and blacks.  Over the course of nineteen years, the council evolved into one of the most important constituents in the fight against AIDS.  At present NMAC helps smaller agencies dedicated to confronting the widespread and catastrophic illness.

The organization also acts in accord with CDC that recently completed the HIV in Women and Infants Project, an educational project for minority women ages 15-34 and the Young African-American Men’s Study, a two-year study to thwart HIV/AIDS in young black men.  Currently in the process of conducting ongoing research to better comprehend precarious behaviors of minorities, CDC also labors to create effectual interventions for young gay and bi-sexual men of color, women involved with injection drug users and people who are highly predisposed to contracting STDs.

Fortunately for people of color, agencies similar to CDC, NMAC, and NAESM exist and persevere in supporting minority communities and their struggle with AIDS.  The continual guidance, education and research of these committees generate a forum about solving the HIV/AIDS crises in the U.S., and possibly foreshadow the healing of the epidemic throughout the world.