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Two years into the second term.  That’s when presidents usually start to seriously consider their legacies and begin taking action.

President Barack Obama did just that this week when he announced a new, $100 million U.S. initiative to advance research towards a cure for HIV.

It is a noble effort and it’s a really good start. But while $100 million to you and me sounds like a lot, sadly it’s just a drop in the bucket. The cost for HIV research and prevention is high.

In just one year, some cities can spend that amount of money, if not more, on prevention. The cost for people of color is this battle is high as well; especially for African-Americans. Here are the facts which I quote directly from The Centers for Disease Control website.  As a matter of fact, it’s the first thing on the CDC’s statistics page.

• More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 5 (18.1%) are unaware of their infection.

• Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, particularly young black/African-American men who have sex with men, are most seriously affected by HIV.

• By race, blacks/African-Americans face the most severe burden of HIV compared with other races and ethnicities.

• Blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2010. They also accounted for 44% of people living with HIV infection in 2009.

• Unless the course of the epidemic changes, at some point in their lifetime, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with the HIV infection.

I reeled off all those statics because I don’t want to editorialize or be misinterpreted or misquoted about the dangers of HIV in our community.

So, very simply, we must accept the fact that we are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS for a host of reasons:

lack of knowledge about how the disease is spread.

denial and stigma surrounding homosexuality.

refusal for abstinence in our teenage years.

refusal to have safe sex… use condoms.

high rates of intravenous drug use.

Obviously black people aren’t the only ones who contract HIV and AIDS.  We aren’t the only ones- some of us- who are not getting the message about safe sex.

But we are among those who are still being infected in disproportionate numbers. And it has to stop.

We must press our leaders, even the first African-American president, to do more when it comes to allocating resources to AIDS prevention and research for all people, but especially for black people. $100 million here in the U.S. is a great start, but please Mr. President, we need more.

5 thoughts on “President’s Pledge to HIV Research is a Good Start But It’s Not Enough

  1. If I am correct this funding is going toward HIV cure or “funtional cure” research. This is a good thing! There is already some money in place for current medication assitance and HIV health care. The cost of current HIV medication can go well into five figures each year, per patient, not to mention the potential side affects. Most people do not get HIV from having multiple partners or drug use but from having sex within a relationship which most people do. The key is to get tested together before getting married or starting a new relationship. Most people are infected by someone who has never been tested!! Let’s not judge, most ilness is from something in life we did or did not do. BTW, there is no such thing as an AIDS test, it is an HIV antibody test.

  2. I do not knowingly know anyone with HIV AIDS however, I do know that anything that divides us, is a direct affect on us all and strains our society.
    Perhaps $100 million is not a lot, but it is a start.
    Because it is factually known that Democrats are more concerned about society as a whole, our next Democrat president [of these divided states] will amplify this program as well as ObamaCare.

  3. Old school girl. on said:

    You should be glad that the President provides any resources. The reality is that blacks engage in, risky behavior, such as unprotected sex with men and women, producing unwanted kids, herpes, AIDS and other permanent concerns. IV drug abuse is yet another example. If you choose to engage in these behaviors as adults, why should the federal government pay for your bad choices? At some point personal responsibility, and consequences of your behavior are your responsibility. The federal government is cutting food-stamps to the elderly and young children, if I had to choose between food stamps and HIV medication, I would choose to keep food stamps. BTW I am an African American, who had a family member who died of HIV because of their poor choices…drugs.

    • Wildflower on said:

      Speak Old School girl and Don Lemon what have you contributed? Nothing that this president is or will ever be good enough. If he’d donated 100 BILLION it wouldn’t have been enough and everybody would have been complaining about the deficit, so Thank you Mr. President!

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