Heterosexual African-American women are being disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, attendees were told on Wednesday at the 19th International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Washington. These women comprise 60 percent of new cases among US women and face infection rates 15 times the rate of white women, according to C. Virginia Fields, president of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.
CDC data for 2009 show that black women represented the next-largest group of new infections, after men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races, with 5,400 cases. One in 32 black US women can expect an HIV diagnosis in her lifetime, according to CDC.
At the IAC, Linda Scruggs, an African-American woman, explained how she was first diagnosed with HIV 22 years ago when she became pregnant. Her doctors expressed little hope, but her son was born HIV-negative and recently turned 21. Scruggs recounted being molested and raped multiple times; she does not know which attack may have caused her infection.
In Washington, the HIV prevalence rate of 2.7 percent exceeds that of many developing countries. Among the city’s black residents, who make up about half of the population, the prevalence rate is 4.3 percent.
AIDS advocates say healthcare reform could turn the tide on the AIDS epidemic by extending coverage to more people, especially those who are poor or minorities. “This is an epidemic of communities of color,” said Daniel Montoya, deputy executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council.
Date of Publication
Disclaimer: NPIN provides this information as a public service only. The views and information provided about the materials, funding opportunities, and organizations do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, or NPIN.