February 25, 2010
Washington, D.C. -- The National Black Women HIV/AIDS Network is asking you to sign onto a letter to the United States Department of Health and Human Services regarding the lack of representation of black women openly living with HIV/AIDS on Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA).
United States Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
The undersigned are writing in support of the National Black Women's HIV/AIDS Network (NBWHAN) released statement, dated February 1, 2010, regarding representation on the newly appointed Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). We are pleased with the caliber of the 24 individuals selected to serve on PACHA. However, we are extremely concerned about the absence of representation from black women openly living with HIV/AIDS on PACHA.
Current HIV/AIDS epidemiological data indicates that this is a significant voice that must be present and accounted for among PACHA's membership. The most recent Centers of Disease Control and Prevention data indicates that HIV infection is the leading cause of death for black women ages 25 to 34 years old, the third leading cause of death for black women ages 35 to 44 years old, and the fourth leading cause of death for black women ages 45 to 54 years old. Additionally, black women account for the largest share of new HIV infections among women with an incidence rate nearly 15 times higher than among white women. Finally, black women account for the majority of new AIDS cases among women (66 percent) and represent more than one third (36 percent) of AIDS cases diagnosed among blacks.
It is hard to imagine how PACHA can realize its mission without the critical voice of black women living with HIV/AIDS counted among its membership. Therefore, we urge your office to take another look at PACHA and expand its membership to ensure full representation.
All African American women, women's organizations, and women affected must make a stand to be sure that our diverse issues are addressed.
Thank you in advance.
Respectfully submitted by the following organizations and individuals,