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HIV Tops List of Health Concerns Among African Americans
by GayHealth Staff


A new report released by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation examines the knowledge and views African Americans have about AIDS and HIV. Based on a national survey of more than 2,500 adults 18 and older -- including about 430 African Americans and 550 Latinos -- AIDS was ranked the number one health issue facing the nation by 42 percent of those surveyed. Women were significantly more likely than men -- 50 to 31 percent -- to view AIDS as the number one health problem facing the nation.

Other important findings:

  • Seventy percent of African Americans said AIDS is a more urgent problem for the nation than it was a few years ago; 41 percent of African Americans said that AIDS is a more urgent problem for their local community than it was a few years ago. Fifty-seven percent of African Americans said they know someone who has HIV/AIDS or has died of AIDS, compared to 42 percent of whites or 38 percent of Latinos.
     
  • Nearly half of African Americans view AIDS as the most urgent health problem facing the world today. More than three-quarters of African Americans said that AIDS is a more urgent problem for the world today than it was a few years ago.
     
  • More than half of African Americans reported being either "very" or "somewhat" concerned about becoming infected with HIV. Younger African Americans -- age 18 to 29 -- were significantly more likely to say they are "very" concerned about becoming infected with HIV.
     
  • Eighty-seven percent of African Americans said that prejudice and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS exist in the United States today.
     
  • African Americans and Latinos are significantly more likely than whites to believe that "a lot" of discrimination exists.
     
  • More than 81 percent African Americans also said that access to HIV care and treatment in the United States is a problem, with majorities saying that access is affected by income and race.
     
  • African Americans want more information about a range of HIV-related issues, particularly about how to talk to children about HIV/AIDS and how to talk to a partner. More than four in ten said they also need more information about HIV testing.
     
  • Nearly one-third of African Americans said that, in addition to media sources, they rely on family members, friends or acquaintances for news and information on HIV/AIDS.
     
  • Almost 45 percent of African Americans report having spoken to a doctor or other health provider about HIV/AIDS.
     
  • Over half of African Americans said they have been tested for HIV -- more than any other racial or ethnic group. However, nearly one-quarter believe incorrectly that HIV testing is a routine part of an exam. One-third said they did not discuss their most recent test results with a doctor or other medical professional, which could mean that they did not return for their tests results or that test results were provided at a site where counseling was optional.
     
  • Three-quarters of African Americans said that they would be "very" or "somewhat" likely to use an HIV test that does not require a needle or taking blood.
     
  • Most African Americans tested for HIV were tested in a private doctor's office, and more than one-third report being tested in a health clinic.

Updated: Friday, February 22nd 2002
 

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