For years it was seen as the "gay, White man's disease." But the face for HIV/AIDS has long since changed, bearing a much darker complexion.
According to published reports, health officials estimate that one in 22 African Americans will be diagnosed with the AIDS virus in their lifetime — more than twice the risk for Hispanics and eight times that of Whites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the numbers last week; noting the lifetime risk is one in 52 for Hispanics, and one in 170 for Whites. According to the report, Asian Americans had the lowest lifetime risk, at about one in 222.
The data is no longer considered shocking. Earlier research has shown that Black Americans have an exceptionally high risk of HIV infection.
Given the disproportionately high rate of risk for the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently expanded its Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative to increase prevention efforts in the African-American, Latino, gay and bisexual communities, which are hardest hit by HIV/AIDS.
The initiative is a partnership of major community organizations and was launched last year to intensify HIV prevention in the Black community.
As part of the new effort, the CDC has reportedly increased funding for the initiative from $10 million to $16 million over six years, brought in eight additional organizational partners, two of which focus specifically on gay Black men, and continues to build on outreach efforts already in place in the Black community.
Partners include 100 Black Men of America, American Urban Radio Networks, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the National Action Network, the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women, the National Council of Negro Women, the National Medical Association and the National Urban League.