California: Panel Explores How Bad Relationships Put Black Women at Risk for HIV/AIDS
February 6, 2009
Among US women, African Americans bear the heaviest burden for HIV/AIDS diagnoses, representing 64 percent of cases, according to 2005 CDC data. High-risk heterosexual intercourse and intravenous drug use are the main modes of infection, but a Jan. 31 panel discussion in Los Angeles explored how the quality of relationships may also be a factor. The event, organized by the View Park branch of the National Council of Negro Women, was held at the First A.M.E. Church.
Sharon White of Watts Healthcare asked the audience a series of questions about HIV/AIDS, its effects, how it is transmitted, and who is at risk for infection.
"Older women are getting infected, and they've been married to the same man," said Tracy Horn of the To Help Everyone (T.H.E.) Clinic.
"We have to empower women in a sexual relationship," said Jasmine Burnett, a women's health activist. "I want them to be intentional about how they approach other people and intentions they make about sex."
"Growing up, my parents told me to say no to sex, 'Wait until you're married,'" said Zimbabwe native Chenai Nezungai. But she had sex anyway -- unprotected sex. "It's not going to happen to me," Nezungai said she thought. But when her aunt died of AIDS, she dedicated herself to AIDS advocacy. "Use condoms. Don't be stupid," she said.
Beginning at noon this Saturday, Operation Human Billboard will mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by offering HIV testing and community outreach at the intersection of El Segundo Blvd. and Wilmington Ave., Compton. For a calendar of other local HIV/AIDS awareness events this month, visit the National Black HIV Awareness Coalition of Los Angeles at www.nbhaadla.org.
L.A. Watts Times (Los Angeles)
02.05.2009; Nadra Kareem
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.