June 4, 2010
On Wednesday, the White House convened its first summit on HIV among black men, noting evidence that infections may be on the rise. The meeting brought together policymakers, community and faith leaders to discuss ways to fight HIV/AIDS in this population. Among those taking part was Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy hosted the meeting, which was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. ONAP is in the process of finalizing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
African-Americans, who represent about 12 percent of the US population, accounted for 51 percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2007 in states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting, according to CDC. For black men with HIV/AIDS, the chief mode of infection was sexual contact with other men, followed by injection drug use and high-risk heterosexual contact, CDC says.
As part of the multiyear "Act Against AIDS" initiative, CDC has launched the "Greater Than AIDS" movement to help fight HIV/AIDS' disproportionate impact on the black community. A key part of the national media campaign involves addressing HIV/AIDS stigma among blacks and raising awareness about the disease.
"People react with demonization to black men with AIDS," said Shannon Hader, director of the District of Columbia's HIV/AIDS Administration. "This prevents men from getting involved in the response."
Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, noted media's impact in helping to fight HIV/AIDS. One billboard placed in a San Francisco neighborhood advertising free HIV testing helped boost screening by 500 percent, Wilson said.