Denial of AIDS an Issue in US as Well as in Africa
31 juillet 2000 (MedscapeWire)
CHICAGO, 31 July 2000 (MedscapeWire)
On Wednesday, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr, hosted a Town Hall Forum on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African-American community in Chicago as part of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s Annual Convention.
The event, "Ending the Silence : Ending the Epidemic," was broadcast live nationally on the Black Entertainment Television (BET) network. The primary topics addressed were the growing AIDS crisis facing black communities and the international health issues surrounding the fight against AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
While African Americans make up only 13% of the US population, they account for nearly 50% of all AIDS cases. AIDS is the leading cause of death of African-American men between the ages of 23 to 44 years and the second leading cause of death of black women in that same age group. According to Reverend Jackson, this is due, in large part, to the denial of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community in the United States. "AIDS is a continuing plague upon our communities, and prevention, testing, and treatment are all required if we want to bring it under control," said Reverend Jackson. Inadequate testing and prevention programs, combined with underutilized treatment programs, will result in African Americans accounting for 60% of all US AIDS cases by 2005. "This is foremost a health issue, but its impact reaches all aspects of our lives," said Reverend Jackson.
In addition to Reverend Jackson, the panel included ; Deborah Frazier-Howze, president and chief executive officer of National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS ; Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; Dr. Louis Sullivan, president of Morehouse School of Medicine ; Anita R. Estell, Esq, vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc ; Rae Lewis-Thornton, president of Rae Lewis-Thornton, Inc ; Dr. Lisa Henry-Reed of Cook County Hospital in Chicago ; and Dr. Cassandra Newkirk, chair of the National Alliance for Minority Correctional Health Care Providers.
In coming together to develop a "one voice, one agenda" campaign, the panel has taken another step in promoting aggressive mobilization efforts around HIV/AIDS education and prevention, early identification, and the treatment and care of African-American individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. According to Reverend Jackson, the forum has resulted in policymakers being further informed and influenced about the sparse resources available to black communities. "Our national leaders and policymakers must step up and respond constructively to handle this crisis," said Reverend Jackson. "We cannot let AIDS continue to be the silent killer in our communities. There is no upside to ignorance...to not know is not an asset."