African Americans Confront a Pandemic: Assessing Community Impact, Organization, and Advocacy in the Second Decade of AIDS

By Rockeymoore, Maya | National Urban League. The State of Black America, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

African Americans Confront a Pandemic: Assessing Community Impact, Organization, and Advocacy in the Second Decade of AIDS


Rockeymoore, Maya, National Urban League. The State of Black America


Abstract

Last year marked the twentieth anniversary of the recognition of a new pandemic called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Over time, the landscape of AIDS policy, politics, research, and epidemiology have shifted dramatically to engulf individuals, communities, states and nations in a battle to ward off mass destruction resulting from the spread of AIDS. Despite growing attention to the issue, solutions for curbing the spread of AIDS have largely been elusive.

The progression of the disease in the U.S. is similar to its evolution in the world: Black and brown people are disproportionately the sufferers of the AIDS epidemic. While an analysis of the global implications of AIDS on poor nations of color is an important and necessary undertaking, this essay will maintain a narrow analytical lens in considering the plight of people of African descent living in the United States of America It is the hope that this will illuminate community processes that could prove useful in efforts to mobilize individuals and communities elsewhere.

Introduction

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the politics and policies that developed in reaction to the AIDS scourge have been rooted in the unique experiences of America's gay community. Overwhelmingly white and male, the vocal gay community responded to the early threat of AIDS by mobilizing and using political muscle to marshal federal, state, and local resources. Their remarkable achievements in battling the ravages of a mystifying disease should not be minimized-the more so because they simultaneously had to fight a widespread social stigma and blatant discrimination in order to bring the devastation of AIDS in their communities to national and international attention. Their early dominance and success, however, have influenced the content and shape of the political processes surrounding the distribution of AIDS resources to such an extent that it has had a crowding-out effect on other groups who have also been severely affected by the epidemic.

Unbeknownst to many, African Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Early surveillance data issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that black Americans were among the first cases of AIDS in America and that their rate of infection was disproportionate to their representation in the general population. Unlike the white gay community, however, the black community failed to formulate a coordinated early response to the epidemic for a variety of reasons that were rooted in the campaign of misinformation about risk categories and transmission that surrounded AIDS in its early years, and in socio-cultural biases that colored attitudes toward people affected by the disease, as well as in depressed socio-economic conditions that made it difficult to discern the gravity of a new threat amidst other pressing concerns.1 The salience of this last point cannot be ignored. In the 1980s, the crack-cocaine epidemic, a dramatic spike in drug-related crime activity, massive unemployment, and the hostile posture and punitive policies of the Reagan/Bush administration consumed African-American communities. The impact of these and other factors diminished their capacity to recognize the spread of AIDS and to formulate an appropriate response.

The second decade of AIDS would bring new concerns to the fore as epidemiologists and the mainstream news media brought heightened attention to the growing devastation created by HIV and AIDS in communities of color. Since 1994, African Americans have outpaced other groups in new cases of HIV/AIDS. Although only 12 percent of the population, African Americans represent 38 percent of all AIDS cases reported in the United States. In 2000, more African Americans were reported with AIDS than any other racial and ethnic group. Indeed, 63 percent of all women and 65 percent of all children reported with AIDS in 2000 were African American.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

African Americans Confront a Pandemic: Assessing Community Impact, Organization, and Advocacy in the Second Decade of AIDS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.