March 2, 2005
Speakers also "alluded to the 'down-low' phenomenon" -- men who have sex with both men and women but do not mention their male relationships to their female sex partners, friends or family members -- and the accusation that these men are "fueling" the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African Americans, according to the Inquirer. However, Wilson said no data exist to quantify the incidence or influence of such behavior. He added that the scenario portrays African-American women as "powerless victims, unable to protect themselves from HIV-infected men," and that the African-American community needs to work to "de-link blame and shame from accountability and responsibility." Celia Maxwell, assistant vice president for health affairs at Howard University in Washington, D.C., said that women also need to "take charge" of their health by asking their sex partners about sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and be aware of possible signs of STDs, according to the Inquirer. George Roberts, associate director of prevention partnerships in the HIV/AIDS prevention division at CDC, also discussed the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in the African-American community and the "significant barrier" it presents to prevention and treatment efforts (Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/2).
Jackson Urges Public HIV Testing
Well-known African-American men should make a "public stand" for HIV testing to break the stigma associated with the disease, Rev. Jesse Jackson said on Monday at the conference, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "Why can't ministers and high-profile athletes and high-profile television people take the test to remove the taboo?" Jackson, founder and former president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, asked, adding, "Suppose these high-profile athletes took the HIV test on TV. It would make taking the test cool, a culturally acceptable thing to do." However, Jackson added, "It's gone away for the Hollywood set -- the ones with money, education and health care. It's no longer a cause celebre." Jackson noted that former NBA player Magic Johnson, who is HIV-positive, only discovered he had the disease after a medical screening for insurance, the Inquirer reports. Dr. Beny Primm, chair of the National Minority AIDS Council, said that Johnson since has promoted HIV testing programs in more than 40 cities to more than 60,000 people, according to the Inquirer. "If other people would follow that lead, we'd make a great impact," Primm added (Lin, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/1).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.