People have commented to me recently that I am doing alot of HIV/AIDS stories on this blog. To you, I say, NOTHIN’ GETS PAST YOU, DOES IT, GENIUS!?
Seriously, as I’ve said before, here and otherwise, we don’t really deal with HIV enough in the country, especially about HIV in this country. So there. So I’ll try to keep my boring ole “who wants to hear about AIDS stories” to one post a week. But here are two brief updates this week in the world of HIV.
Hallelujah!!! The National Baptist Convention, for the first time in HIV’s 26 year history, is going to bring HIV/AIDS programming into it’s convention this ear for the first time. DAMN! It’s about time. From the Kaiser Health Report via the Associated Press/Springfield News Leader:
Delegates of the National Baptist Convention USA — the nation’s largest black religious organization — this week for the first time will discuss the issue of HIV/AIDS in the black community, the AP/Springfield News-Leader reports. The group is in St. Louis for a weeklong meeting that will feature a health fair.
The 7.5 million-member organization historically has excluded the topic from its health forums, Evelyn Mason, the groups’ health organizer, said. According to Mason, the group had thought of HIV/AIDS as “something only bad people get” because of the disease’s association with homosexuality and drug use. Blacks are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and account for about 49% of all HIV cases in the U.S., according to CDC. “The numbers dictate we have to pay more attention and take ownership,” Mason said, adding, “This disease has taken ownership of us.”
In addition to workshops and information on hypertension, diabetes, obesity, prostate cancer, prescription drug costs and other health issues of interest to the black community, organizers are incorporating discussions about HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness into the agenda.
The group also will hold an educational forum to address about 3,000 black youth on the topic of HIV prevention (Wittenauer, AP/Springfield News-Leader, 6/19). “This wouldn’t have happened five years ago. There’s a change within church leadership [and] within local churches,” Mason said, adding, “We won’t be passing out condoms, but we will be telling [participants] there’s something called AIDS that they are likely to get if they do certain things” (Associated Press, 6/18).
Wonder what those “certain things” are…Sodomy, anyone? Fornication?
Is it hot in here?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have now launched a special LGBT Health Section of their website. It features all sorts of goodies about how much HIV we have, how much breast cancer and suicide. Might not be the most fun way to spend an evening, but is certainly useful information. The have links to data and info on gay/bisexual men, transgendered folks, and lesbian/bisexual women. The front page says:
America’s gay and lesbian population comprises a diverse community with disparate health concerns. Major health issues for gay men are HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, depression, and suicide.
Gay male adolescents are two to three times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide. Some evidence suggests lesbians have higher rates of smoking, overweight, alcohol abuse, and stress than heterosexual women. The issues surrounding personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation can place a significant burden on mental health and personal safety.*
That wasn’t so bad, was it, kids?