The Black AIDS Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS solely in the Black community, made this claim earlier this month during an interview with Black Entertainment Television (BET).
To commemorate the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day last Feb. 7, BET put out an article titled: "How Black People are Disproportionately Affected with the Virus & Antiquated Messaging."
The article pointed out that, even though the Black and African American community only makes up 13 percent of the U.S. population, it makes up around 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2019. This accounts for 15,305 of the 36,801 new HIV diagnoses for that year.
The article also claimed that, like HIV, the Black community "continues to bear the brunt" of many other illnesses in the U.S. despite the significant advances in medical technology.
In an interview with BET, Black AIDS Institute Board Chair Grazell Howard claimed that a lack of culturally specific messaging and healthcare services is the reason for the resurgence of HIV and AIDS within the Black community.
"Though it's about education, it's also the messaging," said Howard. "The conversations have almost become like mantras rather than informative. We talked about MSM [men who have sex with men] and access to healthcare. But we need to talk about quality and culturally competent healthcare within Black communities. The education, the message and the packaging has not been directed to us, for us."
The real reason why HIV and AIDS are more prevalent within the African American community is much more complicated. Most mainstream media outlets immediately blame things like poverty and "institutionalized racism."
Chris Roberts, writing for American Renaissance, believes immigration, specifically the influx of ethnic African migrants into the U.S., played a substantial but underreported role in the spread of HIV and AIDS in the African American community.
"Blacks in the United States have higher infection rates than non-Whites. Many migrants from sub-Saharan Africa also contract the disease once they arrive in Europe," he wrote. "What causes this? First, many Africans hold outlandish theories about the ways HIV/AIDS can be contracted, cured or treated. One horrifying belief is that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS."
Roberts also pointed out that many Black and traditional African communities widely believe in traditional forms of medication. While there may be some truth to certain natural remedies, the alternative medicines these communities believe in are not supported by science. (Related: Scientists are looking at this African plant as a possible natural treatment for HIV.)
Another cause for concern, Roberts pointed out, is the general reluctance of many African Americans, including leading members of Black communities in America, to consult with Western doctors. He noted that this trend has been reported since the early 2000s.
Listen to this clip of Jared Taylor from American Renaissance reacting to the Black AIDS Institute's claim that HIV and AIDS is spreading throughout the African American community because of a lack of Black-centered messaging.
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