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For those living with the disease, every day is HIV/AIDS Day

By | 2005-02-10T09:00:00-05:00 February 10th, 2005|Uncategorized|

In 2004, Dick Cheney wasn’t aware of the extent of the AIDS epidemic among Black women.
In 2005, George W. Bush doesn’t care.
How else can we explain a proposed 2006 budget that flat-funds the Ryan White Act while simultaneously increasing funding for abstinence education programs that have led to an increase in sexual activity among teenagers in Bush’s home state of Texas? Especially since, according to former Chair of the Federal Committee to the CDC Health Resource Services Administration on HIV & STD Prevention and Treatment Dr. Robert Fullilove, those very policies will lead to even more infections?
“If we don’t somehow figure out how to have a broader array of options for teens about what they do to protect themselves as they explore their sexuality, we are indeed going to see more and more infections,” said Fullilove in a December BTL interview. Fullilove added that “maybe a third of all new infections” occur in people who were infected as teens.
And how else can we explain cuts in housing help for those living with HIV/AIDS coupled with cuts in the Medicaid program that so many people living with HIV/AIDS depend upon?
Since Bush doesn’t care, and the Black evangelicals, wooed by Bush’s opposition to marriage equality while the majority of Bush’s domestic policies hurt the very people in their pews, seem to have forgotten, these are the facts: Blacks make up 13 percent of the nation’s population, but more than 50 percent of all new HIV infections. In metro Detroit, infection rates are seven times higher for Blacks than for whites, and 17 times higher for Black women than for white women.
Feb. 7 was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day. Just as our nation has named the shortest month of the year Black History Month, we have had the generosity to set aside one whole day to acknowledge the scourge of HIV/AIDS in the Black community. Here in Michigan, the Department of Health and community-based organizations will spend roughly six weeks trying to raise awareness of the disproportionate level of death that HIV/AIDS is dealing to Blacks. It is imperative that our community – the human community – see the current rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the Black community as what it is: a crisis, and treat it as such.
We at BTL applaud the local and national organizations who are working without adequate funding to try to put a stop to a disease that is as preventable as it is deadly. And we also believe that every day should be HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day because HIV/AIDS is an equal-opportunity killer, and the disease doesn’t care what day of the year it is.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.