SACRAMENTO COUNTY: Communities Fight AIDS In African Americans
California beauty parlors, barber shops and churches are "the latest front in the war on AIDS" in the African-American community. The Sacramento Bee reports that "Sacramento County health officials have distributed free condoms, pamphlets and posters to such shops," and are also enlisting the aid of churches, "in an attempt to combat the disproportionately high rate of AIDS among African Americans. County health officials have also launched "an education campaign that includes billboards, media spots and community forums" to combat the African-American community's alarmingly high AIDS rate -- 18% of the state's reported cases. In addition, officials have collaborated with "a growing number of African-American community and religious leaders" to fight the population's "distrust [of] the medical establishment" and the belief "that AIDS is a disease of gay, white males." African-American physician Lisa Merritt said, "There's a ... belief in the African American community that AIDS was created to annihilate them." However, "it's too early to tell if the campaign is working," the Bee notes, because "dollars for AIDS prevention are driven by statistics that aren't logged until long after people are infected" (Magagnini, 7/6).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.