HIV Tops List of Health Concerns
Among African Americans
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
Other important findings:
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
- 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.
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
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
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
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