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In AIDS Fight, Homophobia Hinders Blacks

June 18, 2001

"If a group of African-American politicians, activists and celebrities who met recently in Atlanta are serious about fighting AIDS, they will have to do more than give speeches and solicit funds from Washington," Tucker wrote. "They will have to declare war on the prejudice, fear and ignorance that allow the disease to spread," she said, referring to the two-day "Meeting of the Millenium" organized earlier this month by the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, black members of Congress, health care professionals, and well-known activists. Attendees called on the Bush administration to provide millions more a year to fight HIV in black America.

"Massive amounts of money are needed for AIDS treatment as well as education," Tucker agreed. "But this plague is not like cancer or diabetes or Parkinson's. . . . Because AIDS is sexually transmitted and its earliest victims in this country were gay men, it carries a stigma that defies logic. It travels with not only the fear that surrounds any deadly disease but also a host of prejudices, hatreds and false assumptions that go to the heart of America's sexual hypocrisies and hysterias -- and homophobia," Tucker wrote. "Indeed, a virulent homophobia emanating from black pulpits and a widespread embarrassment about black homosexuality have stymied outreach" regarding safe sex messages in the black community.

"The battle against black homophobia has to be fought by black preachers, athletes, actors and celebrity-activists. Some have joined the fight: Coretta Scott King remains outspoken about the prejudices that block AIDS outreach. . . . Jesse Jackson, too, has joined the effort, urging black preachers to set a public example by getting tested for HIV. But those efforts are too quiet, too small. This movement must grow. The lives of black men and women depend on it," Tucker concluded.


Back to other CDC news for June 18, 2001

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Adapted from:
Atlanta Constitution
06.17.01; Cynthia Tucker



  
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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.
 

 

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