Local and Community News
AIDS an Epidemic in the West Virginia Black Community, Expert Warns
March 14, 2002
Black people make up one-quarter of people with HIV/AIDS in West Virginia, even though they make up only 3 percent of the population, according to a 2001 study by the state Bureau for Public Health. A national expert in AIDS prevention came to West Virginia Saturday to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic in the black community. "This is a national health emergency. This is something we should focus on every day," said Dr. Beny Primm, executive director of the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation of Brooklyn, N.Y. Primm spoke at West Virginia State College as part of a statewide teleconference on AIDS in the African-American community, sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and other groups.Adapted from:
Primm said African-American churches were slow in dealing with the AIDS crisis, but now are leading the way in treatment and education. "The African-American churches have made astounding progress reaching out to AIDS patients," he said, and the New York-based group Balm in Gilead is reaching out to AIDS patients in Africa, too. Primm said parents must take the lead in educating their children about the dangers of drugs and STDs. He also said that since drug use often leads to risky sexual behaviors, schools should start teaching children about drugs as early as possible.
Primm also stressed the importance of spirituality in preventing illness. Several studies show that AIDS patients with a spiritual foundation survive longer. One mother asked Primm how to talk with her 9-year-old about sexual issues, while stressing her belief in abstinence until marriage. "How do I teach him to protect himself and still be a moral person?" she asked. Primm said that parents should convey their values about sex at the same time they convey the information. "We should teach our values, and we should be realistic enough to teach them to protect themselves from risky behavior," he said.
Sunday Gazette Mail (Charleston, W.V.)
03.10.02; Scott Finn
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.