HIV is a racial justice issue as well as a public health issue, as people of color disproportionately suffer the brunt of the HIV epidemic in the United States. HIV is the leading cause of death among African-American women ages 25-34 and the second leading cause of death among African-American men ages 35-44, and African-Americans living with HIV have an age-adjusted death rate more than twice as high as whites living with HIV. For people of color living with HIV, studies demonstrate that racial discrimination diminishes the quality of medical care received. Discrimination and socio-economic factors linked to race create additional obstacles to accessing the quality health care, housing, and education necessary for treatment and prevention.
This section of CHLP’s Resource Bank includes materials that analyze HIV as it implicates issues of race and racial justice, and related issues such as stigma, gender bias, homophobia, drug use, imprisonment, and inequalities in health care.
Left Behind: Black America:
A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic
Black AIDS Institute
This timely report sets forth the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African Americans and the failure of the United States government to respond to this crisis. The report presents the staggering statistics demonstrating HIV/AIDS rates among African Americans rivals that of many African countries receiving funds as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). While African Americans bear the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, U.S. policy-makers continue to respond as if HIV/AIDS were an epidemic suffered outside United States borders. The report discusses the causes contributing to the HIV/AIDS crisis among African Americans, looking at issues such as risk factors, gender bias, homophobia, stigma, drug use, imprisonment, and inequalities in health care. It then proposes an action agenda involving African-American communities, the public and private sector, researchers, and international agencies to address this multi-faceted health and human rights crisis.
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THE FINE PRINT
The Black American AIDS Crisis and the Amber Cloud
by Derrick Bell
Professor, New York University School of Law
If African Americans constituted their own country, the prevalence of HIV would qualify the country to receive billions from the United States to fight AIDS. However, because they live in the United States, their health care is massively ignored and, as a result, African Americans are disproportionately bearing the brunt of HIV in this country. More
Racial Disparities in HIV Care and Outcome: A Call for An Evidence-Based Response,
The Center for HIV Law and Policy
This report responds to recent proposals to change HIV counseling and testing protocols that rest on claims that current laws incorporating informed, written consent are interfering with the testing and treatment that would eliminate racial disparities, and therefore must be "modernized.” Available evidence strongly indicates that the elimination of written, informed consent is unsupported and unsound, and that eliminating virtually all provider-patient communication, and written proof of informed consent, will not result in earlier, better, and sustained access to HIV treatment and medical care, or better outcomes for people of color in this country. This is because (1) such plans are not based on demonstrable evidence that counseling, consent and confidentiality procedures are in fact discouraging patient care; and (2) the evidence strongly suggests that in fact the proposals will worsen racial disparities in access to, initiation, and maintenance of appropriate and life-prolonging treatment. Fortunately, as this report makes clear, the evidence also shows that there are a number of initiatives that likely would make a significant dent in these disparities, and in HIV-related stigma, consequently saving and improving many thousands of lives. Click here to download.