Sun February 6, 2011

African Americans Continue to Outnumber Whites with HIV/AIDS

It’s been 30 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. And compared to their white counterparts, African American’s continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease both nationally and in Colorado.

While blacks only make up 14 percent of the U.S. population the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they represent almost half of those living with HIV and dying from AIDS each year. But Colorado’s numbers are not as high. Imani Latif is the Executive Director of It Takes a Village. Her organization has worked to reduce health and social disparities among people of color in Denver since 2001.

“Here in Colorado we do very well. The numbers could be a lot higher than they are. But I think that we – with the help of the State Health Department – are on the cutting edge of HIV prevention here,”says Latif.

But there is still a disparity in Colorado’s numbers. African Americans make up 3.8 percent of the state’s population but account for almost 18 percent of all new HIV infections on average. And unlike the national trend where black males who have sex with other men and women are at the greatest risk, Latif says black women in Colorado are 33 times more likely to be infected.

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