HIV in African-Americans

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HIV has been a worldwide epidemic for years. It has become a huge health problem and has also become a health threat especially in the African American community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), male and female African American’s represent the largest group or percentage of HIV in every age group. The virus is spreading faster in the black community than any other in the United States population. The main reason why I decided to choose this topic is because it is one of the most deadliest transmitted disease that is mainly affecting the African American community.

This certain disease is mainly contracted through blood transfusions, unprotected sex, breast milk or sharing any kind of needle with someone who has been infected with the virus. There is really no way to tell when you have contracted the it because it’s very similar to the symptoms you would develop if you have been diagnosed with the flu. The way doctors can tell you if you have contracted the virus would be if they tested your blood. Another reason why I decided to choose this topic is because a really close friend to my family and I contracted the virus through a blood transfusion, and I wanted to understand how and why this happened.

As of today, there is currently no cure for HIV AIDS but there are several drugs to keep it under control. A way to reduce HIV risk behaviors and increase access to testing and referral to healthcare can help get rid of or eliminate gaps between blacks and other races in the rates at which it is diagnosed. There are some other ways to keep one who has been diagnosed with HIV healthier and live longer along with their treatment is to have a healthy diet and eat fresh foods.

According to the Mayo Clinic (2008), fresh fruits and vegetables can help keep you strong and provide more energy to be able to help and support your immune system. The best ways to prevent contracting HIV AIDS is to never use or share needles with someone else and to never have unprotected sex until you know they don’t have the disease. One thing that you can do if you think you have contracted the virus or have been exposed to it is to take a pill called Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). This pill may have an effect in your body that may be able to stop the infection from spreading. It is recommended that you take this pill as soon as possible after a possible potential contact with someone who may have the virus.

PEP is a type of treatment that lasts almost a month and doctors will be continuously monitoring you after taking the pill. Felman (2018) states that the treatments for HIV now, is often effective enough to keep other infections at bay. HIV reduces the activity of your immune system in the late stages of HIV. Meaning that it reduces the ability to fight off infections, other diseases, and in the worst cases cancer. Even infections that barely had any effect to your body before you contracted the virus might pose as a serious health risk because AIDS weakens the immune system.

One thing I saw over spring break on Fox News, was that there was a possible breakthrough on the cure for HIV AIDS. For the second time in history Smith (2019) states, an HIV positive patient with blood cancer has achieved to be able to decrease HIV following a modified bone marrow transplant to treat their cancer from an HIV resistant donor. Even though it had cured a second man, it is still very early to determine or say if that patient is fully cured from the HIV virus. However, this potential successful customized bone marrow transplant provided hope to everyone who has been waiting for the cure for this horrible virus. The only problem I foresee, is how much money is it going to take for doctors and scientists to put more research into this particular study and if its going to be a risk to test out on patients who have been waiting for a cure. Even with speculation still going around, if there is a cure or not, this hopefully successful transplant shows that we are one step closer to finding the cure for HIV.

In the year 2004, African Americans made up 13% of the United States population but showed that over half of the people that were diagnosed with HIV were African Americans. In an article that Fullilove (2006) wrote, he states that their culture is actually ten times more likely to contract the HIV virus compared to the white culture. At one point in time HIV was actually taking out the African American culture. Another reason that HIV AIDS are more prone to African Americans is because they are more likely to have sexual intercourse within their race. One other study shows that in 2008, the black or African American population were diagnosed with HIV eight or nine times the rate for White males and females and two and four times more likely than Hispanic/ Latino males and females, respectfully.

The frequency of STDs is higher in African Americans than any other culture, race, and ethnicity. The thought or impression of any STD including HIV AIDS is well-known in the African American community, however, Coleman (1999) wrote an article speaking on how the possible role of Black churches now supporting the increasing numbers of African Americans living and dealing with HIV and AIDS. However, the rate has declined between 2008-2012, unfortunately, it is still 13% higher than Whites and 47% higher than Latinos. One of the reasons for this is because the main population who contract this and die are the people who live in poverty because they are not able to afford any treatment, and according to many studies that main community who live in poverty are African Americans.

From 2011 to 2015, the number of HIV patients among Black/ African American women fell 20%, which is very encouraging and is moving in the direction that everyone wants to reach. This particular data that Adams et. al. (2019) states that they are on track to meet their national HIV/AIDS target to reduce the gap between the rate of newly diagnosed patients among black women by at least 15% by the year 2020. However, one of the unfortunate parts about this study is that African American women are still being disproportionately diagnosed with HIV. Three years ago, 4,560 black women were diagnosed with the virus. This particular statistic shows that 61% of patients being diagnosed with HIV were African Americans in the United States for that year.

African American homosexual men ended up having around 11,000 cases of HIV diagnoses three years ago. They are the most prone and are hit the hardest with this deadly virus and they are still being hit pretty hard today. Annually the most that are being newly diagnosed among African American men are either gay or bisexual and they have remained stable as new infections among gay and bisexual men overall. One thing I still say that doctors should make allowed is to be able to have free testing available for everyone at anytime for this deadly virus. This will make anybody who wants to get tested be able to have a peace of mind when it comes up negative and those to get immediate help and treatment a lot quicker so that they can live a long and healthy life.

Mass incarceration also is another factor that greatly impacts the number of African American patients that get infected with HIV. Their partners, if any, are already at high risk in getting HIV through sexual transmission. Statistics show that around 80% of inmates are in a long-term relationship or married at the time inmates were put in jail. It is believed that almost over half of these relationships end while the inmate is incarcerated, which results in negative and rash behavior and creates an outcome of being more at risk to contract the virus. Basically, what I think that this while more African American men are being put in the jail, the more relationships will end which may cause a situation in which either partner are at risk in catching the virus.

The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) are giving out about $400 million dollars a year to any health departments that are trying to make a cause or form an effort for prevention. This will give more direct sources for HIV patients around with the greatest needs around the United States of America. Two years ago, the CDC gave around $11 million a year for around approximately five year to about thirty Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to give to HIV testing to young homosexual and bisexual men of color and to also provide the same for transgender youth of color. This year, CDC gave an agreement to strengthen the capacity and to better the performances of the nation’s HIV prevention force better than it has ever been.

Even though HIV AIDS diagnoses among the Black/ African American community have been reported throughout the country, the impact of the worldwide epidemic is not uniformly distributed. Regionally, the south accounts for the majority of African Americans newly diagnosed with the virus. As a nation whole, AIDS diagnoses among African Americans are compact in a bunch of states. The states that have higher populations are more likely where there are more and more newly diagnosed African Americans with HIV live. Nevertheless, every day that passes by we are one step closer to finding the cure for this disease.


  1. Adams, J. W., Lurie, M. N., R. F. King, M., Brady, K. A., Galea, S.,  Friedman, S. R., .  Marshall, B. D. (2018, December 18). Potential drivers of HIV acquisition in African-American women related to mass incarceration: An agent-based modelling study. Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-018-6304-x
  2. Bogart, L. M., & Thornburn, S. (2005, February 1). Are HIV/AIDS Conspiracy Beliefs a Barrier to HIV Prevention Among African Americans? Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/fee0/89ff69ef3d92c1699107b6c87a6f7d148edf.pdf
  3. Felman, Adam. “HIV and AIDS: Overview, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 29 Nov. 2018 www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17131.php.
  4. Fullilove, R. E. (2006, November). PDF. National Minority AIDS Council
  5. Smith, Jonathan. “Second Patient Achieves HIV Remission after Bone Marrow Transplant to Treat Cancer.” Labiotech.eu, Labiotech UG, 12 Mar. 2019, labiotech.eu/medical/hiv-remission-bone-marrow-transplant/.
  6. “AIDSTreatment.” UCSF Medical Center, www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/aids/treatment.html.
  7. “HIV/AIDS.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Jan. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiv-aids/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373531.

Cite this paper

HIV in African-Americans. (2021, Feb 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hiv-in-african-americans/

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