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HIV And Race

Catching up on news from last week, here's Niall Stanage's criticism of Obama's new HIV/AIDS strategy:

[Obama] drastically downplayed the importance of race, referring to it not at all in his introductory statement to the strategy, and giving it only the briefest of mentions in his White House remarks.

This evasion verges on the indefensible. To speak of the HIV/AIDS crisis and not give due emphasis to the vast racial disparities that characterize it is absurd. African-Americans number around half the people currently living with HIV or AIDS in the U.S., despite representing only about 13 percent of the total population. Almost 40 percent of those who have died from AIDS in the U.S. have been black. The rate of AIDS diagnoses is approximately ten times higher among blacks than among Caucasians. A black man in the U.S. has a one in 16 chance of becoming HIV positive in his lifetime, compared to a one in 104 chance for his white compatriot. For women, the figures are even more shocking: one in 30 for a black woman compared to one in 588 for a white woman.