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Health Team

AIDS awareness day helps advocates target minorities

Posted February 7, 2013
Updated February 8, 2013

African Americans represent 12 percent of North Carolina’s population, but they make up 66 percent of annual HIV diagnoses.

That’s why health advocates are on a mission to reach the African-American community and others at risk for the disease. Thursday marked National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which was founded by five national organizations funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help raise awareness.

Fred Whitted has had AIDS for 27 years. He credits an early diagnosis and an effective drug regimen for his survival.

Advocates spread AIDS awareness in African-American community Advocates spread AIDS awareness in African-American community

“I know the medicine is extremely expensive and all that, but the hospital stay is even more expensive,” Whitted said.

He volunteers with the North Carolina AIDS Action Network to spread awareness and get people tested.

“Especially in some of the smaller rural areas, people won't even go into a doctor and mention there's a possibility that they could have AIDS, so they're not getting tested,” Whitted said.

Jacquelyn Clymore, the state director of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, said an estimated 7,000 people in North Carolina are HIV positive and don’t know it.

“We want to find those people, we want to get them tested and then we want to get them into care because that's what's going to save lives,” she said.

Clymore said a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.

“People who are in care and taking their medication the way it's prescribed will live a long time - 20, 30 years - which means they may be living a normal life span,” she said.

7 Comments

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  • Mon Account Feb 18, 1:18 p.m.

    ""Friends of mine work in medical billing and have said that the more rural the county, the more STDs on their bills." --Mon Account

    I find that hard to believe...really, its significantly more difficult for people to even meet and strangers are all held in skepticism...I'll have to see if the CDC correlates this...but I doubt it..." - grimreaper

    Interesting point. I poked around a little bit and it seems that lack of population density is just one factor. Rural areas have fewer health care choices (and education), an innate distrust of the government (which leads to less involvement in prevention programs, etc.) and other factors that contribute to STD rates. Good stuff out there to read.

  • Pseudonym Feb 15, 5:23 p.m.

    AIDS Awareness Day? Really?? Is there really anyone 30-some-odd years later that is not aware of AIDS?

  • Unbroken Feb 15, 8:54 a.m.

    "readme, they wouldn't even publish my reference to the fact that no fewer than 5 different agencies get tax money to put on this race-restricted event.
    Morrigan"

    "Race-restricted?" So in other words, it asks you at registration if you are African-American, and if you are not... then you are not allowed to attend?

    Nice try.

  • grimreaper Feb 13, 2:19 p.m.

    "Friends of mine work in medical billing and have said that the more rural the county, the more STDs on their bills." --Mon Account

    I find that hard to believe...really, its significantly more difficult for people to even meet and strangers are all held in skepticism...I'll have to see if the CDC correlates this...but I doubt it...

  • Terkel Feb 13, 12:07 p.m.

    readme, they wouldn't even publish my reference to the fact that no fewer than 5 different agencies get tax money to put on this race-restricted event.

  • readme Feb 12, 8:51 a.m.

    The HIV rate I am sure is highly correlated with unprotected casual sex and the high rate of births out of wedlock also in the black community. But what can we do? If the black leaders are scared to discuss it or won't make it a priority, how can anyone else? How do you tell free people that they should wait a little longer to jump in the sack? You can't cure stupid.

  • Mon Account Feb 8, 11:47 a.m.

    Friends of mine work in medical billing and have said that the more rural the county, the more STDs on their bills.