Initiative comes on 30th anniversary of first diagnosed case of AIDS and just months after Obama Administration issues first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) has partnered with the Greater than AIDS movement and the Black AIDS Institute to reengage Black Americans in fighting the AIDS epidemic by making an historic commitment to cover AIDS in Black America in the nation’s Black press. NNPA represents 200 member newspapers and more than 15 million readers. Greater Than AIDS is a national movement to unite and mobilize Americans in response to the AIDS crisis in our country, in particular the devastating epidemic facing Black Americans. The Black AIDS Institute is the only HIV/ AIDS think tank in America focused exclusively on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Black people.
Thirty years into the epidemic, Black Americans remain disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS:
- Although Blacks represent about one in eight Americans, they are one of every two people living with HIV in the U.S.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a study in October showing that one in 22 Black Americans can expect to become HIV positive over the course of their lifetime.
- AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women age 25-34 and the second leading cause of death for Black men age 35-44.
- Blacks living with HIV have an age-adjusted death rate that is more than twice as high as that of HIV-infected whites.
“The importance of educating the African American community about HIV has never been more important than it is today,” said Dorothy Leavell, Chair of the NNPA Foundation Board of Directors and publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader newspapers. “Although we are excited by breakthroughs in medicine, the fact remains that the number of people living with HIV in our community is still high, and that number is growing. We have a lot to do. This epidemic is not over and we all have to redouble our efforts.”
“The Black press has been heroic in its effort to confront HIV and AIDS. It was one of the first institutions in Black America to respond to the epidemic,” said Phill Wilson, Founder and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “With this partnership, the Black press will create opportunities to engage the whole of Black America in a conversation about HIV and AIDS in a way that no other institution in our community can.”
The release this year of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy by the Obama Administration marks the first time the federal government has issued a planned response to deal with AIDS in America. That strategic focus, coupled with passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will dramatically increase Black Americans’ access to health care. The ACA prohibits insurers from denying health coverage to children with HIV and AIDS; prohibits lifetime caps on coverage costs; and expands Medicaid eligibility of those low and moderate-income people living with HIV.
“We are at a crossroads. This is our best chance yet for ending the AIDS epidemic. The NNPA is uniquely positioned to mobilize Black communities all across this nation,” Wilson said. “We need to use the infrastructure we have to mobilize Black people to be engaged in the design and implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and the Black press is one of the few institutions in Black America that can accomplish that.”
The groundbreaking project will see weekly coverage of AIDS in the nation’s Black newspapers; public forums on AIDS in Black America in each of the NNPA’s five regions; and public service announcements.
The series will launch in December, 2010 in Black newspapers around the country.