Wednesday, November 30, 2005
On the eve of World AIDS Day Black women still bear brunt of the pandemic in the U.S.
According to the CDC, Black women represent 68% of the new HIV diagnosis among women in the United States. African American women are 18 times more likely to contract HIV than white women, and AIDS remains among the leading causes of death for Black women ages 25-34. Yet nearly 25 years into the epidemic, there has yet to be a mass mobilization of Black women to respond. To remedy this, the Black AIDS Institute and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women will host It’s All About MEE!: The Mobilization, Education & Empowerment Conference - the first ever National Black Women and AIDS Conference - on December 1-4, 2005 in Los Angeles. The institute will also release a report in conjunction with the conference, Getting Real: Black Women Taking Charge in the Fight Against AIDS The report will be released in conjunction with the opening of the first national conference for and about Black women working against HIV. From Dec. 1-4 in Los Angeles, the Institute .
Here are some more sobering facts from the report:
•New infections are overwhelmingly happening through unprotected heterosexual sex – 78 percent of Black female infections between 2001 and 2004 were through sex with men.
•Among young women aged 13 to 24, African Americans accounted for 68 percent of all infections through 2001.
•Among 13 to 19 year old girls, the Black share of infections through 2001 climbs to 78 percent.
The report then walks through the social and political forces that undermine Black women’s efforts to build and sustain healthy sexual partnerships – and relationships in general.
•The impact of negative – or nonexistent – relationships with Black males during formative years. In particular, the impact of sexual abuse, which studies show increases the likelihood of a woman later engaging in behavior that will put her at risk for HIV by seven fold.
•How relationship dynamics discourage Black women from standing up to protect their sexual health by insisting on the use of condoms and having consistent, open dialogue about trust and sexuality.
•How poor access to health care and poor literacy surrounding STDs in general facilitates HIV’s spread among Black women.
•How America’s centuries-long assault on Black men has in turn impacted Black women’s sexual health.
So, brothas, in support of World AIDS Day, put on your Jimmie Hat and let's help put an end to this disease that is hurting sistash everywhere and that WE are carrying into our homes, communities and bedrooms. May the Goddess forgive us.