African American Women and HIV/AIDS: Critical Responses

By Dorie J. Gilbert; Ednita M. Wright | Go to book overview

15
HIV/AIDS Policy and African American Women

Tonya E. Perry

[Invisible,] [triple burdened,] and [falling through the cracks] are among the ways in which the position of African American women within the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic have been represented in the literature (Caravano 1991; Corea 1992; Hammonds 1990; Quinn 1993; U.S. House of Representatives 1991). As these characterizations suggest, the ways in which our society has responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis among African American women and other stigmatized groups is a reflection of the complex interaction of cultural, social, and moral factors. These factors shape AIDS social policy (Brandt 1988), and, in effect, result in policies that do not equally benefit all. In fact, though HIV/AIDS-related policies and programming have led to a significant decline in the total number of reported AIDS cases among White Americans, the total number of AIDS cases reported among African Americans, and African American women, specifically, has increased dramatically (CDC 1999; Kaiser Family Foundation 1998). Despite the degree to which African American women are affected by HIV/AIDS, policy-initiated programming aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS incidence among African American women and responding to the special needs of those women who are HIVpositive or AIDS-diagnosed is lacking. This chapter examines key HIV/AIDSrelated social policies affecting African American women. In addition, the chapter explores the extent to which HIV/AIDS-related policies have been responsive to the needs of African American women and major advancements in HIV/AIDS-related policy development that may assist African American women. Finally, the chapter ends with recommendations for future policy development.

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