HIV/AIDS: Black Women Hit Hard, but Fighting Back
Hoping to serve as a "wake-up call for black women," 300 African Americans marched through the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles Saturday, chanting, "Spread the word! Stop HIV!" the Los Angeles Times reports. Backed by the Alliance of Black Women Organizations, the women distributed informative pamphlets aimed at women in the community. One pamphlet, entitled "Getting Him to Use a Condom," reminds women that they "can't tell if he has HIV by looking at him" and advises them to "talk business before pleasure." U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D), who chairs the alliance of 80 women's groups, led the two-mile march. "For too long, too many people have been in denial ... thinking HIV is a white gay disease," she said, noting that among women, African Americans account for 60% of all new HIV cases. And even though potent antiretroviral drug therapy has precipitated a drop in AIDS-related deaths since 1996, that decline is "smaller for women than men, and smallest overall for African Americans and those infected through heterosexual contact." Cynthia Davis of T.H.E. Clinic and professor of family medicine at Charles Drew University, said, "HIV has been around 20 years now. This is the first time in my experience we have taken to the streets. This is long overdue, community action like this" (Liu, Los Angeles Times, 6/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.