Here's the vastly underreported good news about HIV and AIDS among African American women: In June 2005, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a six percent drop in infection rates among Black women between the years 2000 and 2003. Later, in November, the CDC reported a five percent drop in infection rates among African Americans overall. We are making progress; prevention is working.
That said, there remains a staggering amount of work to do, particularly among Black women. While the vast majority of new infections still occur among men – both in America at large and in Black America – the racial gap in infection rates among women is astounding. The Black AIDS Institute's latest report on the state of AIDS in Black America examines the social and political forces that are driving that gap, and begins to explore ways for Black women to counter them in their lives.
In Getting Real: Black Women Taking Charge in the Fight Against AIDS, health journalist Hilary Beard talks to HIV experts focusing on women of color, relationship and sexual health counselors, and Black women themselves to uncover how the broader social forces working in Black women's lives have conspired to undermine their sexual health.
Getting Real's overview lays out the grim statistics that show just how uniquely Black the female epidemic in the United States is today.
In addition to these themes, the report examines the impact the growing communal dialogue about Black men "on the down low" and explores Black mothers' role in educating their children about HIV and sexual health, in a time when other sources for that information have either gone silent or are offering negative reinforcement of unhealthy practices.