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27 de Noviembre, 2007

Hurricane of HIV

Categorized under Ciencia , Derechos Humanos , Política Estados Unidos | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

AND WILL THEY SAY nobody could have foreseen the weakness of the levees?

For the first time, Washington D.C. has collected data on H.I.V. and found that in the nation's capital, the "modern epidemic"—as the Washington Post calls it—is now primarily one affecting blacks.

The numbers most starkly illustrate HIV's impact on the African American community. More than 80 percent of the 3,269 HIV cases identified between 2001 and 2006 were among black men, women and adolescents. Among women who tested positive, a rising percentage of local cases, nine of 10 were African American. [...]

The District's AIDS rate is the worst of any city in the country, nearly twice the rate in New York and more than four times the incidence in Detroit, and it has been climbing faster than that of many jurisdictions. [...]

Study Calls HIV in D.C. A 'Modern Epidemic'; More Than 80 Percent Of Recent Cases Were Among Black Residents

And big propz must go to the woman who dares try and change the world, as well as shout out the truth as she lives and sees it:

In the nation's capital, a 24-year-old is helping to lead the fight against AIDS.

Nicole Styles is doing what she can to stop a major health-care crisis — an epidemic, even. This AIDS activist is stepping in where parents, educators and the government have failed, devoting her life to handing out condom kits and trying to persuade people to use them.

Styles is trying to save the lives of kids in the nation's capital, home to the worst HIV/AIDS rate in the country. One in 20 D.C. residents are infected with HIV, and in some neighborhoods, that number is as high as one in 10.

Styles thinks that when these staggering numbers were announced, a state of emergency should have been declared. Instead, she and many others in D.C. suspect that the government's seeming indifference is because 80 percent of those infected are black and most of the others are gay.

Styles believes that if the disease affected white heterosexuals at a rate of one in 20, the city and federal government would have more of a response.

'It would be all over the place. It wouldn't be difficult to obtain information about HIV and AIDS,'she said. 'You wouldn't have to have us standing on every corner trying to get the people, passing out stuff trying to let the community [know] about what's really happening'

Styles' anger and compassion motivated her to join the staff of Metro Teen AIDS, an activist group that offers free and confidential HIV testing and counseling services to youth.

AIDS in DC, Turning Anger into Action

Before my mother became the Director of Public Health for an unnamed New York county, H.I.V. prevention (Infection Control) was her area. And it was her job to break this news to many people, too. I heard a lot about AIDS in this way, when I was younger.

When I think of Africa and how it has been exploited and divided and harmed for so long, I think too of the disgrace called the "US response to Hurricane Katrina." And when Katrina happened, I couldn't help but think of all the Bob Marley lyrics I grew up hearing every day of my young life, about blacks being crammed in slave ships, about people who work and live and die so that an economic giant like the U.S.A. can get its feet underneath it, and who are still living with so much hate and antagonism and resistance to their health. From many directions. Y también, I think of Hurricane Katrina, when I read about the lack of funding and attention given toward educating and helping the black community in the very capital of our nation.

There is no reason any one population—gays, blacks, Mexicans, Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Chileans, Cubans, women, children—should be bearing the brunt of a disease or disaster or a hardship while the rest escape to firm ground. This type of inequality is a direct result of believing in some mystical "Us" and "Them" that will keep these ills from our own doorstep. I do not believe in that divide. I feel all the pains and horrors that come for any of us can come for all of us. (If this were not so, you wouldn't see sudden, unpredictable conversions among the GOP toward stem cell research, scuba outfits, etc.) And it hurts me and actually makes me furious to the point of getting teary to see how black people have been, since time immemorial, the group who bear the most brunt. From so many directions.

It should go without saying that we should all care about all of us. And further, that any HIV proliferation is a threat to all of us, everywhere. But the time has long past arrived for us all to stand and fight to make things better for those worse off than others. The poor, the gays, the hunted migrants, mujeres, blacks, the illiterate, the hungry, the voiceless. I do believe in working to thrive, and getting ahead, and succeeding. I made my bones up in this place, aqui, in the U.S.A.! But we must not hop on the first fast boat and flee far from the wreckage around us. We must look to save those in the deep tides, and we must stand with the most maligned and hunted of our species. In this way, and only in this way, can we hope to redeem our kind in the face of the deeds of the worst of us.

Don't give up the fight! —Bob Marley

also posted in a few other places

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Comentarios (4)

goodbye kitty dijo:

Styles thinks that when these staggering numbers were announced, a state of emergency should have been declared. Instead, she and many others in D.C. suspect that the government's seeming indifference is because 80 percent of those infected are black and most of the others are gay.

And many refuse to even look at the possibilty that the AIDS virus was intentionally introduced. Now that we have been told that it actually entered the US via Haiti,as opposed to the previous 'patient zero' theory, it becomes that much more sinister.

Lisa Harney dijo:


I had no idea how bad it was.

It's insane that so little is being done.

Clinton Fein dijo:


There are many things that can be done without wating for the useless government to step in. San Francisco took some major initiatives back in the 80's, when Reagan wouldn't even mention the word AIDS, let alone do anything to try and prevent it.

But there were also many mistakes made along the way that can be avoided. I wrote a review of a documentary called "The Gift" which was about a small group of people who were deliberately contracting HIV for a host of both fathomable and unfathomable reasons. (see The Gift)

One of the other unintended consequences of some of that early activism, was that pharmaceautical companies were pressured to fast-track some of the drugs in their pipelines, like AZT, which led to a relaxing of certain testing and approval requirements. It was a great strategy, in that so many people were dying, with so little hope, so quickly, that many were willing to risk adverse side-effects if they could save their lives. But, predictably, corporations are apt to succumb to greed, and soon ALL drugs were being fast-tracked, inadequately tested, and pushed onto physicians, which is why we see recalls for drugs like Vioxx nowadays, where the rush is to patent and market, not to save lives.

Bottom line: There is much to learn in terms of prevention and active steps that can be done to mitigate this disturbing trend.

No One of Consequence dijo:


Instead, she and many others in D.C. suspect that the government's seeming indifference is because 80 percent of those infected are black and most of the others are gay.

Well, yah. Citizens have to create change at the local level. The fed is wholly corrupt. Your one shot is to take back your state -- or district, as the case may be -- and get more money from the fed than they take.