Executive Summary: Making Change Real
Part of Making Change Real: The State of AIDS in Black America 2009 -- Executive Summary
The 2009 edition of the Black AIDS Institute's annual State of AIDS in Black America report lays out both the promise and the peril of the unique moment at which we've arrived in this epidemic.
On one hand, the historic election of Barack Obama and a congressional majority that has been more supportive of the AIDS fight offers great opportunity. Similarly, Black America is engaged in the struggle to end AIDS like never before. Together, these two realities could create real, lasting change in the course of this epidemic.
At the same time, 2008 witnessed great setbacks, particularly in the effort to prevent the virus's spread. We are seeing the outcome of too many years of neglect, at both the governmental and communal level.
The Challenges We Face
In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its long-awaited study re-examining the size and depth of the U.S. epidemic. Using new technology that allows researchers to learn more detail about individual HIV infections, the CDC discovered, among other things:
The racial disparity in AIDS deaths continued in data released last year:
The 2009 State of AIDS in Black America report includes a chart pack -- "The Black Epidemic: By the Numbers" -- which details key data about the Black epidemic.
The federal commitment to all areas of AIDS work -- prevention, treatment and research -- has all but disappeared.
The Promise of a New Era
While the challenges are great, Black America is perhaps better poised to meet them today than ever before.
The new Obama administration has vowed to take action on several fronts, including drafting America's first comprehensive strategy to direct our efforts. (See "Call to Action for a National AIDS Strategy" on page 30, and "What Obama Has Promised" on page 21.) But just as crucial, our community is engaged like never before. From individuals on up to our traditional Black organizations, we've accepted the idea that this is our problem and we must find the solution.
In 2006, 16 traditional Black institutions launched the National Black AIDS Mobilization by signing on to the National Call to Action and Declaration of Commitment to End the AIDS Epidemic in Black America (see BlackAIDS.org for text and list of signatories). The 16 institutions are not typical AIDS organizations. These groups, many of which have histories that span generations, were founded to meet a wide range of communal needs and concerns; they have now formally added AIDS to their work.
This report offers an update on the progress each group has made in fulfilling its pledge to act. Many of them have made great strides; others are just beginning their work. In all cases, far more resources and support are required from both public and private funders who seek to impact the AIDS epidemic.
Some highlights from the State of Our Movement section of this report include:
These are just a handful of the many initiatives traditional Black organizations undertook in 2008. A full accounting for each group can be found in the State of Our Movement section of this report, and each of their strategic plans are online at BlackAIDS.org.
This article was provided by The Black AIDS Institute. It is a part of the publication Making Change Real: The State of AIDS in Black America 2009 -- Executive Summary. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.