African Americans have more disease, disability, and early death than whites. Major health problems for African American women include cancer, diabetes, vision loss, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (including HIV/AIDS). The leading causes of death for African American women are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. African Americans are about twice as likely to have diabetes as whites of the same age and they are more likely to have other serious health problems caused by diabetes. Among women, about two out of three new HIV cases are African American. High rates of other STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are a problem as well.
African American women are less likely to receive health care; when they do receive care, they are more likely to receive it late. For example, African American mothers were twice as likely to have late or no prenatal care compared to white mothers in 2004.
There are many possible reasons for these differences, including racism, poverty, cultural differences, lack of knowledge about the importance of screening or testing to prevent health problems, inability to get to the doctor, or lack of trust in the medical system.
Current as of December 2007