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The National Minority AIDS Education & Training Center

Prevention Of Aids in American Minorities

Minorities in America have traditionally been subjected to racial segregation, leading to unequal access to education and healthcare, resulting in poverty, substance abuse and more. But the advent of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s has had a devastating effect of non proportional levels on many racial groups in the United States.
According to the Center for American Progress:

  • 14 percent of the US population consists of African Americans, however, the same group forms 44 percent of HIV-positive cases in the country
  • The rate of HIV infection amongst Latinos is three times the rate of HIV infection amongst whites
  • While the homosexual population makes up for 2 percent of the US population, 61 percent of all new HIV infections are diagnosed in this group

While HIV/AIDS remains incurable, prevention remains the only bulwark against this deadly condition.

How to Prevent HIV/AIDS amongst American Minorities

Education – Education remains the biggest tool against the spread of HIV virus and the development of AIDS. Sex education, promotion of condom use, access to free condoms and information on HIV/AIDS, remains the main focus of governmental and non-governmental HIV/AIDS education programs. These initiatives have led to a decrease in sexual risk behaviors.

Most of these programs are however biased in favor of heterosexuality, often times excluding or not providing enough information to homosexual groups. Sex education programs are also opposed by conservatives, thereby forcing federal and state governments to support abstinence only programs.

Minorities and the Criminal Justice System – Disproportionate levels of African Americans and Latinos are incarcerated. During imprisonment the rate of getting HIV infection is high due to needle-sharing, tattooing with unsterilized equipment and sexual assault. Despite this, only 1 percent of prisons and jails provide condoms to their inmates. Needles are not provided at all in any US facility, unlike in Europe.

Use of Needles – If a person needs to use a needle for drug injection, it must be sterile and must not be shared.

Pregnancy and HIV/AIDS – An HIV-positive expecting mother can pass on this deadly virus to her baby. But with proper and timely medical help, this risk can be significantly reduced.

Communication – Sexual partners must talk to each other about their HIV status. If one partner is HIV-infected, his/her partner must be tested for the same, so that timely treatment can be given. This can also help in curbing further spread of the virus.

Truvada – Truvada can be prescribed by doctors to prevent the risk of HIV infection and in HIV treatment.
The HIV/AIDS prevention tools, techniques and strategies are the same for all American racial groups. However, why these work in one racial group (white) and not as effectively in others (African Americans and Latinos) is explained by American minorities historical lack of access to education and healthcare.

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