--Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Director, Institute for African American Studies, University of Connecticut and author of Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (The Johns Hopkins University Press), 2004 and Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (University Press of Kansas), 2007.
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In 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports, nearly 200,000 blacks were living with AIDS. This number is the highest for the major racial and ethnic groups although blacks make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population. After an apparent declining number of new HIV/AIDS cases, new HIV/AIDS cases among blacks increased 17 percent from 2005 to 2007. Blacks still have an astronomically high rate of infection (see figure below).
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009.
Although blacks are generally aware of the epidemic, they still have misconceptions about the basic facts of the disease. (See the section on African Americans in Impressions of HIV/AIDS in America.)
Review the basics. Do you know the answers to these questions?
- How is HIV passed from one person to another?
- Can I get HIV from casual contact (shaking hands, hugging, using a toilet, drinking from the same glass, or the sneezing and coughing of an infected person)?
- Can I get HIV from mosquitoes?
- What can be done to prevent HIV transmission?
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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.
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