Preventing and treating AIDS among blacks "requires an approach and leadership that is distinctly different in its emphasis from what the government is doing now or has been doing for years", Mr. Wilson says. This past spring, the CDC announced a major policy shift that appears to be driven, at least in part, by the changing face of AIDS. With the new plan, called the Advancing HIV Prevention Initiative, the CDC hopes to sharply increase public health efforts designed to prevent people infected with the virus from spreading it to others. This tack differs from previous policy that mostly concentrated on preventing new infections by educating all Americans about avoiding high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex or the sharing of needles by IV drug users (4). The new plan is designed, for instance, to fund programs to encourage doctors and other health providers, particularly staffers in government-supported community-based health centers that serve many African-Americans, to aggressively dissuade HIV-infected patients from exposing others to their virus. The initiative will also increase funding for HIV testing as a way to help health practitioners identify those people who may unknowingly be at risk of spreading the virus, says Harold Jaffe, who runs the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention.
The CDC won't formally say this new policy is focused on African-Americans or other minorities. But Dr. Jaffe says that in providing new funds to the community-based centers, many in poor and urban settings, the CDC is addressing the disease's growing racial disparity. Mr. Wilson maintains the approach is far short of what's needed. He says the CDC and others shouldn't shift funding away from programs designed to prevent people from getting infected in the first place. He says this is especially important because the infection rate is rising so swiftly among adolescent blacks who "clearly aren't hearing the message that certain behaviors put them at very high risk of getting infected, and that once infected, they have a very serious health problem". Mr. Wilson believes the federal government should be waging a much more explicit attack on the disease among African-Americans, one that is designed, for example, to counter the profound stigma of AIDS and homosexual behavior in the black community.
"We should be saying, this is the problem, here is research showing how to address it and here is a plan of attack and the money to back it", says Mr. Wilson. Even so, Mr. Wilson acknowledges that addressing AIDS among blacks and other minorities is not an easy task. For one, "the American black community itself has been very slow to acknowledge the problem", Mr. Wilson says. For example, homosexual and bisexual behaviors are not openly discussed among blacks as they were among white homosexuals when the epidemic first surfaced in America (3).
When one looks deeper in the HIV / AIDS problem it is clearly visible that all money spent by government on AIDS preventing and treating measures are spent nearly in vain. As the primary targets for this virus are homosexuals, drug addicts and blacks the mass media anti AIDS propaganda does not reach the risk group, because of low culture and education of the majority of above mentioned groups. It is impossible to fight AIDS alone. Government needs to increase the educational and culturous level of the risk group, which in fact is also impossible.