Voices from the Edge on 08/14/08
African Americans make up 13 percent of the total U.S. population yet they represent 49 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in this country. In Oregon, where African Americans make up only 2 percent of the population, 8 percent of Oregonians diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are black. HIV/AIDS levels in the African American community are surpassing levels in several African nations currently receiving U.S. support to fight the disease.
This week, Jo Ann and Dave will look beyond the headlines of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the African American community. What are the causes behind these statistics? Do we need, as Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, recently suggested at the global AIDS conference a "national plan" similar to U.S. efforts to combat AIDS in Africa? Joining in the conversation will be Rev. Renee Ward, who lost her husband to an HIV/AIDS related disease and currently heads an HIV/AIDS education for African Americans in Portland. Also joining the conservsation will be Khalil Edwards, program director of Brother to Brother, a Portland-based group that is working to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS crisis among African Americans and advocating for local programs to help fight the disease.