What do we mean when we talk about "BLACK AIDS"? Our society, often quick to categorize and generalize members of minority groups, rarely separates the "African" from the "American" when discussing the black epidemic.Prevention and treatment strategies often fail utterly to distinguish between exploding infection rates in the African-American community and African immigrant communities.From the lack of funding to implement it.There's a fundamental lack of awareness that these distinctions are even important.
In Massachusetts, for instance, half of the black individuals who contracted HIV between 2003 and 2005 were non-U.S. born according to the Multicultural AIDS Coalition(MAC) The state is hardly atypical.That's why MAC and other prevention experts are saying that more emphasis must be placed on targeting immigrant awareness,"Among immigrants of color,African immigrants are leading immigrant population being affected by HIV in Massachusetts,in terms of newly diagnosed and prevalence rates"/Says Chioma Nnaji, program manager for the Africans for access program at MAC.African immigrants, who hail from each of the continent's 53 countries,face a variety of prevention concerns. Dealing with someone from Mali is different than dealing with someone from Uganda.Then you have those from Liberia a country that has undergone civil war for the last ten years. Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to fuel the mis perception that AIDS is primarily a foreign -i.e. African- problem, an estimated 24.5 million people were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Aferica at the end of 2005,African immigrant HIV-positive population in this country may provide the strongest argument yet when it comes to fighting AIDS there's no geofraphical divide
Nicole Joseph (POZ)