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Time for that talk again....Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Time for that talk again....Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

About a year ago, while schlepping around the intrawebs, I got to "know" some people who have irrevocably changed my life.  Good, bad or indifferent... it is what it is.  I put "know" in quotations b/c I have never actually met any of these ladies.  Yet we have shared some pretty deep conversations online.  Have discovered that we hold similar tastes, likes, values, beliefs, pet peeves and humor.  My friendships with these people are every bit as valid and valuable to me as any I have with people in my immediate vicinity.

Because of one of these friendships, I became involved with the Red Pump Project.  Look over on the sidebar... my humble lil' blog with its sporadic readership was one of the first to Rock the Red Pump, last March for National Women's and Girl's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  And I'm rockin' it again, and again, and again....

Today is Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  And I personally think that it's the most important of the awareness campaigns going.  Why?  Because, demographically, Black Americans are unbelievably over represented as far as HIV/AIDS is concerned.  Now, my girl Luvvie has covered the stats in her post over at the RPP website.  And I believe if it ain't broke, don't fix it... so I'm gonna trust y'all will click the daggone links!

One stat that I came across deals with the disparity between pediatric AIDS among different ethnic/racial demographics.  The following tables come straight from the CDC website and they make me want to vomit.

FIGURE 2. Racial/ethnic distribution in total population and among infants aged ≤1 year, persons aged ≥13 years with diagnosed HIV* infection, and children aged <13 years with diagnosed perinatal HIV infection --- 34 states, 2004--2007
The figure shows racial/ethnic distribution in total population and among infants aged less than1 year and persons aged greater than 13 years with diagnosed HIV infection, and children with diagnosed perinatal HIV infection  in 34 U.S. states from 2004-2007. During 2004-2007, among all children with diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection in the 34 states, 69% were black, 16% were Hispanic, 11% were white, and 4% were of other or multiple races. In contrast, 15% of infants in the 34 states aged less than1 year were black, 22% were Hispanic, 56% were white, and 7% were of other or multiple races. The percentages of black and
Hispanic females aged >13 years with HIV infection were similar to those for children with diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection; 67% were black, and 14% were Hispanic.
* Human immunodeficiency virus.
 Data adjusted for reporting delays.
§ Hispanics/Latinos might be of any race.
Alternative Text: The figure above shows racial/ethnic distribution in total population and among infants aged less than1 year and persons aged greater than 13 years with diagnosed HIV infection, and children with diagnosed perinatal HIV infection in 34 U.S. states from 2004-2007. During 2004-2007, among all children with diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection in the 34 states, 69% were black, 16% were Hispanic, 11% were white, and 4% were of other or multiple races. In contrast, 15% of infants in the 34 states aged less than1 year were black, 22% were Hispanic, 56% were white, and 7% were of other or multiple races. The percentages of black and Hispanic females aged >13 years with HIV infection were similar to those for children with diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection; 67% were black, and 14% were Hispanic.



FIGURE 1. Annual rate of diagnoses of perinatal HIV* infection per 100,000 infants aged ≤1 year, by race/ethnicity --- 34 states, 2004--2007
The figure shows the annual rate of diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection per 100,000 infants aged  less than1 year, by race/ethnicity in 34 U.S. states from 2004-2007. From 2004 to 2007, the annual rate of diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection for black children decreased from 14.8 to 10.2 per 100,000 (p = 0.003), and the rate for Hispanic children decreased from 2.9 to 1.7 per 100,000 (p = 0.04). The rates for white children and for children of other or multiple races did not change significantly.
* Human immunodeficiency virus.
 Data adjusted for reporting delays.
§ Hispanics/Latinos might be of any race.
Alternative Text: The figure above shows the annual rate of diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection per 100,000 infants aged less than1 year, by race/ethnicity in 34 U.S. states from 2004-2007. From 2004 to 2007, the annual rate of diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection for black children decreased from 14.8 to 10.2 per 100,000 (p = 0.003), and the rate for Hispanic children decreased from 2.9 to 1.7 per 100,000 (p = 0.04). The rates for white children and for children of other or multiple races did not change significantly.
Yep, you read those stats right.  Disgusting.... 

At one point in the HIV/AIDS story, an infected mother automatically meant an infected infant.  But there are meds now, that when taken during pregnancy, can prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child across the placenta.  And these tables are showing clearly that those meds are not getting to Black expectant mothers.  
And why?  Poor access to prenatal diagnosis and care?  Lack of information?  Lack of availability of meds that could prevent those infections?  Lack of caring?  Yeah, all that.  And more. 

So, what do we do about it?  We talk, yell, scream!  We get involved.  We start conversations about prevention.  We make this a priority topic again!  

I refuse to let the conversation die as long as I'm drawing breath.  Please get involved.  Use condoms.  Know your status.  Share information.  If we keep rowing the boat in the same direction, we can get those lines going in the right direction people!

By the way, the RPP has a brother organization, The Red Tie Project, with a focus on issues relating to men and HIV/AIDS.  Check them out!
Also check out this link... Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative for more info on perinatal transmission prevention.

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