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Black AIDS Institute Executive Director Discusses Need for AIDS Awareness Among Blacks

by Medindia Content Team on October 3, 2007 at 2:51 PM
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Black AIDS Institute Executive Director Discusses Need for AIDS Awareness Among Blacks

"When nearly half of the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS are black, AIDS in America today is a black disease," Phil Wilson, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute, said last week at a town hall meeting at Meharry Medical College, Tennessean columnist Dwight Lewis writes.

The town hall meeting was part of a two-day event, "Bringing Ethics to Life in Human Subjects Research: A Case Approach," sponsored by Meharry, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and FDA.

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According to Wilson, "Black people make up 12% of the nation's population, but they represent 54% of the new HIV/AIDS cases in America." He added, "Sixty-seven percent of the new HIV/AIDS [cases] among American women are black, 42% of the new cases among men are black, and nearly 70% of the new cases among American youth [ages 13 to 21] are black."

He said young people are "being infected because they're sexually active," adding, "No one is taking the time to provide the tools and information they need to protect themselves." Wilson called for every "black institution, from the faith to the educational to businesses to medical institutions to entertainment to fraternal to civil rights" and "anybody who presumably cares about black people" to talk about HIV/AIDS.

He said there is a "whole generation of young people who don't know a world without AIDS, and we're the ones who need to do whatever we can to help eliminate this disease".

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
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