HIV/AIDS in Black America: Reasons, Prevention Methods

Introduction

HIV/AIDS are major epidemics affecting a large fraction of the US population. A great percentage of this [population is the blacks. These people are African American. Statistics have been carried out and there are factors about the spread of this epidemic. It has been found that 60% of the women affected with AIDS and living in America are Blacks. This poses the question of why the blacks? Most of those affected blame the US government for their suffering. They claim that they do not get enough support from their government. They do not blame it on immoral sexual behaviors. The US government has failed to provide HIV awareness to the black community. They blame majorly the US discrimination against African Americans. Statistics also show that more than 225,000 Blacks have succumbed to this epidemic. African American women have a higher probability of getting AIDS as compared to their male counterparts. Most of the men affected by AIDS involve in gay behaviors. These men are also involved in drug abuse.

The issue of drug abuse and addiction has been greatly witnessed within the black community and has been held responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS among them. Heterosexuality is also a major cause to the spread of this viral disease. The African American community has been seen to be a slave to this killer disease. Their immoral habits like unprotected sex make AIDS to spread rapidly among them. The US government is currently putting some efforts to fight this epidemic. The government is financing several organisations who are involved in fighting the disease. These organisations aim at creating awareness to the African American community about the causes of HIV/AIDS and the preventive measures which should be put in place. The most popular organisation which is involved with the AIDS awareness amongst the Black community is US Centers for Control and Prevention (CDC). This organisation strives to save the African American community from being victims of this epidemic. It teaches them prevention methods and how to take care of the affected victims (Gilbert, 2003).

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Discussion

The number of the African Americans population affected by HIV virus seems to increase through the years. Some of the first cases of this disease were witnessed back then in 1980 among the black community in the US. There are several causes which have been identified to be responsible for the spread of this killer viral disease. It has been seen that the issue of unprotected sex is common among the African American women and men. This is one of the major causes of blacks getting infected with the HIV virus. Black men who engage in same sex sexual behaviours are more likely to acquire the HIV virus as compared to other men. Homosexuality is common among the African American men making the epidemic to spread faster among the blacks. This behaviour is less witnessed among the white men of the same age as the blacks who are gay. African American women are the ones who are largely affected by the HIV virus. The disease is transmitted through unprotected sex in women; most of the black women are engaged in same sex behaviours. A greater percentage of the African American women affected with AIDAS are lesbians. This behaviour has caused the women to suffer more than the black men.

Another major contributor to the spread of HIV epidemic amongst the African American community is the using of different types of drugs. It has been seen that almost every African American living with HIV is a drug addict. This is because they share the syringes they use while injecting drugs without sterilizing them. This is not popular within other races in the US. The drugs they use also make their bodies’ immunity system very weak hence not able to fight diseases. Most of the black women involved in drug use are also prostitutes. This therefore increases their chance of contracting the HIV virus and makes them unable to live any longer after they are infected. The drugs they use normally make them lose their senses and therefore do not even bother getting involved in unsafe sex. They therefore get involved in unprotected sex with the clients which might be infected by the virus (Stone, Ojikutu & Rawlings, 2009).

Lack of proper health facilities has a great contribution to the spread of HIV virus among the black community. In America private insurance gather for the health requirements. Therefore those who are not able to make these insurance payments support themselves with the little they have. The government is also responsible for providing for their heath needs. Most of the African American people do not have this healthcare insurance. This is associated with poverty amongst the black community. Most of the African American community lack good housing and they do not have access to AIDS education. The lack of money and many other basic needs make most black women to involve themselves in commercial sex activities. This therefore makes them vulnerable to contracting the viral disease and other STDs. They lack funds to purchase condoms which they can use to protect themselves during the sexual activities they get involved in. Most of the healthcare facilities are expensive and therefore unaffordable by these people living under poverty status. Since they do not go for HIV testing they die faster; this is because they are not aware of their HIV status and so they cannot take good care of themselves in order to live longer.

Most of the African American population have been seen to only seek medical care when their health conditions are only severe and worse. They cannot therefore know their HIV status until, when they have infected many other persons. The death of HIV people is mostly witnessed in the blacks since they do not get proper medical advice. A large number of the black population depend on government funded health centers. These centers may not be having the strong and effective antiretroviral treatments as compared to private hospitals which are expensive. These health centers in most cases receive very many patients as compared to available health facilities. They are not therefore able to gather for all their health issues. Pregnant women who are living with AIDS in these minority groups do not get proper care and most of them die during their pregnancy. These women do not also get proper medical care and safe child birth and they therefore infect their unborn children with HIV virus. In the first instance most of them do not even know their HIV status and so they fail to take correct measures to save the lives of their unborn children. Most of the children who are living with AIDS in the US are of African American origin (Braithwaite, Taylor & Treadwell, 2009).

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The fact that most African American are living under poverty conditions has made them more prone to this killer disease. Most of the teenagers from this community drop out of school because they lack adequate finances for their education. This hence makes them lack the civic education on AIDS lessons and the preventive measures. Most of them get infected with HIV because of lack of knowledge. They are ignorant of the cause and the impact of contracting the disease. They therefore indulge in reckless sexual activities without taking good care of themselves. Because they cannot secure well paying careers in their lives they tend to lose their self value and get involved in illegal activities. These activities involved drug abuse and immoral sexual behaviours like prostitution in order to earn a living. They are forced do get involved in commercial sex and they often not able to make their clients use condoms since they are desperate for money. This therefore makes them more vulnerable to being infected by the HIV/AIDS (Kates & Kaiser, 2007).

Stigma is yet another main contributor of the spread of HIV/AIDS among the African American community. Racial discrimination has been of greatly practice in the US, these make those discriminated feel inferior. Blacks are the victims of this discrimination which makes them to fear to share their HIV status openly. Since the HIV is stigmatised, the people fear to get tested in case they become positive. This makes them suffer in secret and infect many other innocent people. They also do not seek medical advice since they do not know their status and so they lack awareness on how to take good care of themselves and how to prevent transmission.

Most of the blacks felt that those living with the virus are looked down upon and they therefore tend to associate with those victims mostly and sympathise with them. Imprisonment has also been witnessed to cause the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS among the African American community. Most of the people in prisons are blacks. This is because most of them are living below poverty line and therefore indulge in criminal activities in order to acquire what they lack. Most of the criminal activities they get involved in make them serve life term imprisonment. Among the black men living with HIV a most of them get infected during their imprisonment. The rate of homosexuality in prisons is high making prisoners to acquire the virus from their infected inmates. The prisoners do not get the necessary awareness of the risks involved in contracting the disease. These factors are the ones held responsible for the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African American community.

CDC is performing a major role in the African American community in order to curb the spread of HIV virus amongst them. A large share of the CDC finances is focused on the black community in order to fight AIDS. CDC aim to educate this community on the causes and preventive measures of this epidemic. It will provide free HIV awareness to the black population. The organisation also supports many schemes that are coming forward so as to look into HIV in the African Americans. CDC holds several programmes like free HIV testing in order for them to know their HIV status and so they can take care of themselves whether infected or not. CDC uses the African American churches on their battles against the epidemic.

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In churches the blacks get teaching about the disease and its effects. This organisation also discourages the youth from involving in drug abuse. This will reduce the chances of the blacks getting infected. CDC encourages the blacks to involve in self employment which will earn them money to maintain themselves and get proper medical care and so they refrain from other unlawful ways of getting money e.g. prostitution. This organisation helps the blacks to realise their self-worth and be able to discuss drugs and homosexuality openly among them. CDC provides education on the preventive methods for HIV virus. This includes engaging in protected sex, not sharing needles and saying no to the use of drugs. It holds several campaigns among the African American population against the AIDS epidemic. CDC is integrating with several organisations in order to increase the HIV awareness. It works with top African American leaders to do mobilisation of the community in the fight of AIDS (Robertson, 2006).

The US government is also focusing more on curbing the spread of the epidemic. The government ensures that those public health centres are provided with the necessary funds in order to acquire enough health facilities to gather for the poor and the less fortunate in the society. It makes sure that these health centers have qualified doctors and are many enough to meet the needs of the large population. The government make the antiretroviral drugs available at these facilities so as to make those living with AIDS live longer. The US government also conducts several campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness and even have a national AIDS Day. This helps reduce the vulnerability of the blacks to this killer disease.

The government fund CDC and other organisations involved in combating of HIV/AIDS among the black community. These are the disciplines which will be used in order to address the issue of HIV/AID in the black community. The US government has organised several workshops where great researchers and speakers are invited to talk about the AIDS pandemic. The government has sponsored many researchers to study more on the epidemic and find out how it can be best prevented and cured. These researchers then educate the public on the topic of HIV virus. The prevention method of holding nationwide workshops and campaigns by the government is so far the best method. This is because it will make the people aware of the disease and they can take care of themselves.

With the introduction of the current technology the combating if the AIDS pandemic has been improved. The HIV test is done and the results can be out in a within a few seconds. This fastens the HIV testing and makes it cheaper. The digital audio technologies also enhance the HIV awareness among the blacks. The use of video conferencing and e-learning make almost everybody to have access to the HIV lessons. The mobile technology is also used by doctors to follow up on the HIV victims on their fairing with the antiretroviral drugs. The cellular phones keep the patients in touch with their doctors. Technology also enhances in conducting research on the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Foster, 2007).

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Conclusion

HIV/AIDS is slowly taking a large portion of US population. Several researches show that most of the people living with HIV today are African American. President Obama had promised to put great emphasis in fighting poverty in order to reduce the percentage of HIV infections in the US. The cause of the poor conditions among the blacks is racial segregation. Therefore the US should strive to eliminate racial discrimination. The self esteem of the blacks is lowered by the poverty condition and they do not mind getting the virus since they opt to die than live under discrimination and poverty. The government should focus more on the open campaigns against AIDS amongst the African American people. It should also fund project that are involved in the fighting of this national pandemic. The health facilities should also be improved. They should be equipped and should have qualified doctor so that the black people get the necessary treatment (Weeks & Alcamo, 2009).

The US government should also focus on poverty eradication. Most of the African American population live in poverty which makes them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. An effective program should therefore be established to make the black people aware of several job opportunities they can get rather than being victims of drugs and commercial sex. In the near future there seems to be a drop on the number of blacks living with AIDS. There several HIV strategies put in place to prevent the spread of this virus. Since technology is rapidly improving the research on the HIV pandemic will also be improved and be made faster. There are resources on the internet promoting the HIV awareness. Almost everybody in the US has an access to the internet and so articles on the issues concerning AIDS should be posted to the internet for the public to get informed.

References

Braithwaite, R.L. Taylor, S.E. & Treadwell, H.M. (2009). Health Issues in the Black Community. London: John Wiley and Sons

Foster, P. (2007). Is There a Balm in Black America?: Perspectives on HIV/AIDS in the African American Community. New York: Lulu.com

Stone, V. Ojikutu, B. & Rawlings, M.K. (2009). HIV/AIDS in U.S. Communities of Color. New York: Springer

Gilbert, D.J. (2003). African American women and HIV/AIDS: critical responses. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group

Kates, J. & Kaiser, H.J. (2007). An overview of HIV/AIDS in Black America. New York: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Robertson, G.L. (2006). Not in my family: AIDS in the African-American community. New York: Agate Publishing

Weeks, B.S. & Alcamo, I.E. (2009). AIDS: The Biological Basis. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning

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