How Is HIV Different in African Americans?

Expert opinions from top HIV specialists treating African Americans

    "Researchers are looking at whether HIV infection is much more aggressive in African Americans than in others," nurse practitioner Bethsheba Johnson says. "Since many African Americans who are infected are living in poverty, it could be just their living conditions and factors related to poverty that have made the HIV appear to be more aggressive."
    The real problem, health care workers seem to agree, is not that HIV meds themselves work differently in African Americans. Instead, it's that African Americans are already at a higher risk for some of the health problems that HIV meds are known to cause or worsen.
    These myths "have one common thread," Dr. Cargill explains. "Black people have been consistently disenfranchised, poorly treated, always last in line to get anything -- we won't even talk about Rosa Parks and the bus -- and based on that history, a reasonable assumption is, 'When it comes to us, we're the last ones to get care.'"
    Dr. Ada Adimora