World AIDS Day is Nothing to Celebrate

They’re also offering free HIV testing. When’s that supposed to take place – before or after the cha cha slide?

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All that’s missing is a white sale.

Wednesday is World AIDS Day, a day set aside to acknowledge the worldwide struggle against HIV/AIDS and to remember those we’ve lost. It’s a day of commemoration, not celebration; one for somber observances, not church picnics.

It was shocking, then, to read about a Baptist church in Oakland, Calif., planning a day of barbecue, music and comedy because congregants believe that is the best way to get the attention of African Americans.

They’re also offering free HIV testing. When’s that supposed to take place – before or after the cha cha slide?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for spreading the word about the AIDS epidemic – and it is an epidemic, especially among African Americans. I just prefer we not underestimate the intelligence of African Americans by assuming the only way to get such life-and-death information into our hands is if it’s stuck there with chicken grease.

If you think the obesity statistics are horrible, check out these numbers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:

·        In 2006, black men accounted for two-thirds of new infections (65%) among all blacks. The rate of new HIV infection for black men was 6 times as high as that of white men, nearly 3 times that of Hispanic/Latino men, and twice that of black women.

·        In 2006, black men who have sex with men (MSM) represented 63% of new infections among all black men, and 35% among all MSM. HIV infection rates are higher among black MSM compared to other MSM. More new HIV infections occurred among young black MSM (aged 13–29) than among any other age and racial group of MSM.

·        In 2006, the rate of new HIV infection for black women was nearly 15 times as high as that of white women and nearly 4 times that of Hispanic/Latina women.

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