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U.S. News

Conference: Black Women Urged to Take Charge of AIDS Fight

December 2, 2005

On Thursday in Los Angeles, the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) and other groups kicked off the first national conference focused on AIDS and black women in America.

As of 2002, AIDS was the leading cause of death for US black women ages 25-35. According to a CDC report released last month, African Americans were eight times more likely than whites to be HIV-positive, even though the rate of newly reported HIV cases among blacks had dropped. Blacks accounted for 68 percent of newly diagnosed female HIV cases last year, CDC said.

"I see each week at least one woman that is newly infected that says she doesn't have a clue about how that happened," Dr. Celia Maxwell, director of Howard University's Women's Health Institute, said at a press conference.

"Every single person in this room, get tested," said actress Gloria Reuben, who played an HIV-positive woman on TV's "ER."

"I want us to stop being shocked, shocked into silence," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Hydeia Broadbent, who was born with AIDS, said when she tells her story to young people, she notes that the medicines that keep her alive cost almost $2,500 a month. "No kid wants to spend their money on meds," she said.

Officials remarked that the press conference coincided with the 50th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. "For black people in America today, the bus is AIDS," said BAI Executive Director Phill Wilson, but instead of giving up a bus seat, "we are being told to give up our lives."

Back to other news for December 2, 2005

Adapted from:
Associated Press
12.01.2005; Robert Jablon

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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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