HIV/AIDS: Clinton Declares Crisis Among Minorities
President Clinton will announce this afternoon $156 million in new federal funding to fight AIDS in African-American and other minority communities. He will also declare the AIDS epidemic in these communities "a severe and ongoing health care crisis." USA Today reports that "'SWAT' teams of public health experts, AIDS specialists, epidemiologists and other federal health officials will design and implement education, outreach and treatment programs in minority communities with" a high incidence of HIV or AIDS (Page, 10/28). One third of the funding will go toward substance abuse programs and protease inhibitors while the reminder will go to "develop[ing] new strategies for preventing the spread of AIDS." Roughly two thirds of the funding will come from the omnibus federal budget passed last week, and the remaining third "was redirected from other discretionary spending programs." The move comes in response to a call from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who argued that "AIDS is a public health crisis in the black community" (Shogren, Los Angeles Times, 10/28). According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, although blacks constitute only 12% of the population, they comprise more than one third of all HIV/AIDS cases and 43% of new cases (click here to access the HIV/AIDS area of the foundation's website) (Wall Street Journal, 10/28).
Views Of The Crisis
"The resources did not follow the epidemic and the black community came up short," said Waters. Patsy Fleming, a consultant with the UN AIDS program, said, "The epidemic seems to have leveled off among the gay community but African Americans and Latinos are experiencing increases and we haven't been able to figure out how to put a lid on it." She added, "As an African American myself, I am concerned that within the black community there is some resistance to accepting the fact that AIDS is a deadly disease that is wiping out people in great numbers" (Times, 10/28). Click here to read previous Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report coverage of funding for minority AIDS programs. The online Report can be accessed at www.kff.org.