For Release: June 16, 2005
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11
New HIV/AIDS Statistics Show Blacks "Most Severely Impacted" Group Black Americans Urged to Adopt a "Conservative Lifestyle"
With the release of startling new government figures on HIV and AIDS showing African-Americans are the "most severely impacted" community, members of the black leadership network Project 21 are repeating a call to black Americans to be more conscious of their behavior as a way to decrease their risk of contracting the deadly disease.
"AIDS activists would have us believe that catching HIV can happen to anybody at any time. This is only true if we carelessly opt to have promiscuous, unprotected and random sex with multiple partners or choose to make illegal drugs part of our life. The myth that anyone might be spontaneously infected with AIDS outside their own volition is systematically impossible" said Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch. "We bear within us the best preventative resource to fight contracting HIV and AIDS: free will and personal choice. AIDS is completely preventable in our community through our decision to be responsible with our bodies and our minds."
Statistics released by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta on June 13 report that 47 percent of the over one million HIV-positive Americans are black. This is a five percentage-point increase since 2002, and a startling figure considering that blacks comprise only 13 percent of the overall U.S. population. An astonishing 67 percent of the HIV-positive black men surveyed were unaware they were infected prior to testing. Previous government studies found black women comprised 71.8 percent of new HIV cases between 1999 and 2002 and are 23 times more likely to contract AIDS than their white counterparts.
CDC deputy director Dr. Ron Valdiserri told Reuters: "The HIV epidemic, initially most prominent among white gay men, has expanded to affect a wide range of populations, with African-Americans now most severely impacted."
Government AIDS prevention programs are focusing on testing and counseling those already infected. AIDS activists complain this reduces funding for condoms and safe-sex education. Neither approach, however, addresses preventative measures such as abstinence and eschewing risky lifestyle choices.
This issue was addressed by Project 21 member Malcolm Moore in a New Visions Commentary titled "Choosing Life Over Death By Being Conservative" published in May of 2004. Citing 2004 statistics, Moore wrote: "There are certain liberal behaviors that make it more likely one will be at risk of contracting AIDS. To the contrary, acting more conservative is more suitable to AIDS prevention. For example, abstinence from pre-marital sex, joining and holding sacred marriage unions and rejecting the use of illicit drugs dramatically decreases the chance one will be in a position to contract AIDS. Consequently, with the rapid spread of AIDS among African-Americans, the correct decision - choosing life - is to adopt a conservative lifestyle." The complete commentary is available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21NVMooreAIDS504.html.
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. New Visions Commentaries can be found at http://nationalcenter.org/P21NewVisions.html.
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