African-American babies die more often than white babies. Black people in South Carolina have higher rates of HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer and diabetes than white people. As Americans celebrate black history and the civil rights movement during this month, equity in health remains largely a concept rather than a reality in South Carolina.
Experts explain health inequities with a combination of factors like income, education, employment, transportation, environment, housing, access to health care services, racism and culture. While some people may be irresponsible, many others lack the health insurance, money and access to transportation that make it easier to address health concerns.
Strong historical ties to religion also keep people from seeking treatment. Many people will see signs and symptoms and they will just pray over it and let it go. On another level, cultural folk remedies and old wives' tales filter through generations and persist despite leaps in medicine and medical technology.
African-American men have a higher mortality rate from prostate cancer and need examinations earlier in life. Like these targeted campaigns for prostate cancer screenings, making health equitable for all Americans takes a day-to-day commitment to reducing the historical gap in the types of health care that different groups of Americans receive.