There are discrepancies in health care services for the poor and ethnic minorities in the United States. Within the past decade widespread concerns regarding the need to reform the nation's health care services, including the problem of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune syndrome (HIV/AIDS) among African Americans has continued. These inequalities have been the cornerstone of the U.S. Healthy People 2010 national priority objectives. 1 The objectives focus on health and social outcomes such as low quality of life and mortality rates, poverty, lack of accessibility to and appropriateness of care, and the prevalence of certain degenerative conditions and infectious diseases. The dearth of preventive health services for the high-risk groups, particularly children, adolescents, young adults, and older African American adults undermines early intervention efforts, including prompt HIV/AIDS identification and diagnosis, prevention education, health promotion, effective substance abuse treatment, and counseling services. This work reviews the magnitude of HIV/AIDS among African Americans between 1996 and 1999 by race/ethnicity, gender, and age groups. It also addresses the major factors responsible for the continued upward trend in the distribution and rate of infectiousness of HIV/AIDS among African Americans. The study recommends and discusses culturally sensitive and ethnic-specific intervention strategies for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS among African Americans.
From the Graduate Public Health Program, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD.
Corresponding author: P. Bassey Williams, PhD, CHES, Associate Professor of Public Health, Graduate Public Health Program, Morgan State University, 343 Jenkens Building, 1700 E. Coldspring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21237-0001.