HIV and Black Women

By Rachel Walden |

PBS’s FRONTLINE recently aired “ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America,” which looks at disproportionate rates of HIV infection among Black Americans and related factors, addressing, among other issues, poverty, needle reuse and exchanges, policies that have harmed public health, churches and stigma.

In a related interview for NPR’s Fresh Air, “Endgame” director Renata Simone talks about delays in diagnosing women with AIDS, and how those delays affect women both physically and economically:

So the fact that we were not diagnosing women as having full blown AIDS when in fact their immune systems were crashing meant that they weren’t eligible for housing. Nor were the kids that they were trying to bring up. They weren’t eligible for a whole host of economic as well as treatment benefits that automatically come once an AIDS diagnosis has been reached.

A piece of companion content on the Frontline website talks about why some people with HIV *still* can’t get treatment, primarily because of the cost of drugs, including antiretrovirals and treatments for complications of HIV.

There is a lot of other discussion and content freely available on the FRONTLINE website, along with the full video of the program. The CDC has also recently launched a new “Act Against AIDS” campaign, especially focused on “reducing the risk of infection among the hardest-hit populations – gay and bisexual men, African Americans, Latinos, and other communities at increased risk.” It includes a “Take Charge. Take the Test.” initiative to encourage Black women to be tested.

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