When we talk about black people and AIDS, our minds often shift to Africa, where the AIDS epidemic has completely destroyed communities and left generations of orphans. A new report from the Black AIDS Institute says that we should also be paying close attention to AIDS in the black American community. According “Left Behind - Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS,” the number of African Americans with AIDS is comparable to the numbers in some African countries.
According to this report, if black Americans made up their own country, it would rank above Ethiopia (420,000 to 1,300,000) and below Ivory Coast (750,000) in HIV population. Both Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast are among the 15 nations receiving funds from the President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief. The United States has given about $15 billion to PEPFAR nations in the past five years. Tell us: What’s your experience being black in America?
The Black AIDS Institute says it’s not criticizing the federal government for helping poorer countries cope with the AIDS epidemic. Rather, it’s saying the “AIDS epidemic [in the U.S.] is not getting the kind attention that it merits.”
“We understand the needs of black folk in Johannesburg (South Africa),” [Institute CEO Phil] Wilson says. “Why can’t we understand the needs of them in Jackson, Mississippi? We understand the needs in Nigeria or Botswana, why not understand the needs of Los Angeles or Oakland?
The Kaiser Family Foundation has reported that domestic HIV/AIDS prevention makes up the smallest part of the HIV/AIDS budget. [CNN]