Racial Shift Spotlights Need for Better Prevention and Care
January 13, 2000
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The CDC today is reporting today that men of color now comprise 52% of all AIDS cases among gay and bisexual men, up from 31% a decade ago. This has occurred as prevention funding has been flat and disparities in access to health care remain deep and wide.
"The AIDS epidemic is once again exposing disparities in access to care in America," said Julio Abreu, AIDS Action's associate director of government affairs. "Our failures to reinvigorate prevention for the most vulnerable communities has resulted in an explosion of AIDS cases among people of color."
AIDS Action was also deeply concerned by data showing that gay men of color are more likely to become infected in their youth than are white men. According to the CDC data, 16% of gay African-Americans and 13% of Latinos were diagnosed with HIV infection from age 13-24 while only 9% of white men were.
The CDC also released a study showing the tragic role stigma plays in communities of color. According to the CDC, 24% of African-American men and 15% of Latino men infected through homosexual contact identified themselves as being heterosexual. Only 6% of white men infected through homosexual sex identified themselves as heterosexual.
"A central focus of any new prevention effort must be to address the varied needs of affected communities," added Abreu. "Breaking stigma on AIDS means breaking the silence on HIV and AIDS in communities of color."
AIDS Action has been deeply concerned by four years of flat HIV prevention funding and a national failure to make any new investments in prevention programs. Of similar concern are serious gaps in access to health care. Medicaid, of which minorities are disproportionately dependent, does not provide access to the program for low-income people until they have developed full-blown AIDS, when treatment is less effective and more expensive.
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.