HIV/AIDS Particularly Prevalent in Minority Community
While one in 10 gay or bisexual men is infected with AIDS, the infection is "far more prevalent in communities of color," according to a CDC study released this week, the Los Angeles Times reports. Among African-American men who have sex with men, the infection rate is 30%. In Los Angeles, the rates are 25% for African American men who have sex with men and 15% for Latino men who have sex with men. According to HIV/AIDS experts, HIV prevention methods used in the gay white community "are simply not as effective among African Americans," the Times reports. For instance, in the African-American community, individuals who engage in homosexual activity might not consider themselves gay and "are not likely to be in West Hollywood or anywhere else where education and information is available." Some communities' "continuing taboo" on homosexuality has prompted many men to hide their "gay or bisexual behavior by dating and marrying women -- with devastating effects." In Los Angeles County, 20% of HIV-infected African-American men indicated they had had sex with women in the past six months, compared to 9% of white men and 4% of Latino men. As a result, the number of black women with HIV/AIDS has "skyrocketed." Cynthia Davis, assistant professor at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles, said, "Most women don't even know they're at risk. They find out when their spouse dies, or when they deliver a sick baby." Complicating the problem, officials have reduced outreach efforts among women and drug addicts because of the way the epidemic appears to be spreading among gay and bisexual men, according to Chuck Henry, director of the Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy (Stewart/Bernstein, Los Angeles Times, 2/7).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.