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The Heightened National Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis among African Americans

CDC LogoAs the impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans has grown over time, so have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts to address it. We are highly committed to reducing the disparities that exist among African Americans, but we realize that we cannot do it alone. We believe that a heightened, urgent, and collaborative response among CDC, community members, and influential leaders is necessary to decrease HIV/AIDS among African Americans.

Documents Highlighting CDC's Heightened Response

HIV/AIDS and African American Women: A Consultation Supporting CDC’s Heightened National Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis among African Americans, June 20-21, 2007

  • Meeting Report
  • Slide Sets
    • “Can You Hear Me Now?” Linking STIs and HIV infection
    • HIV/AIDS among African Americans: CDC’s Strategies for a Heightened National Response
    • National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Priorities
    • Stop TB in the African-American Community
    • The HIV/AIDS Epidemic and Black Americans
    • Triple Stigma: Race, HIV, and Drug Use
    • U.S. DHHS - Office on Women’s Health HIV/AIDS Programs
    • Viral Hepatitis Prevention: Overview & Integration Projects

Other CDC Activities Addressing HIV/AIDS in African American Communities

Please note: The reference numbers in the text below will take you to the References section of the CDC fact sheet HIV/AIDS among African Americans.

CDC estimates that 56,300 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2006 [19]. Populations of minority races and ethnicities are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. To reduce further the incidence of HIV, CDC announced the Advancing HIV Prevention (AHP) initiative in 2003. This initiative comprises 4 strategies: making HIV testing a routine part of medical care, implementing new models for diagnosing HIV infections outside medical settings, preventing new infections by working with HIV-infected persons and their partners, and further decreasing perinatal HIV transmission.

CDC has also established the African American HIV/AIDS Work Group to focus on the urgent issue of HIV/AIDS in African Americans. The work group developed a comprehensive response to guide CDC’s efforts to increase and strengthen HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention activities directed toward African Americans. Already, CDC is engaged in a wide range of activities to involve community leaders in the African American community and to decrease the incidence of HIV/AIDS in blacks.

For example, CDC

  • Funds demonstration projects evaluating rapid HIV testing in historically black colleges and universities as well as projects to improve the effectiveness of HIV testing among black women and MSM.
  • Conducts epidemiologic research focused on blacks, including
    • Brothers y Hermanos, a study of black and Latino MSM conducted in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia that aims to identify and understand risk-promoting and risk-reducing sexual behaviors.
    • Women’s Study, a study of black and Hispanic women in the southeastern United States that examines relationship dynamics, and the cultural, psychosocial, and behavior factors associated with HIV infection.
  • Addresses, through the Minority AIDS Initiative, the health disparities experienced in the communities of minority races and ethnicities at high risk for HIV infection. Funds are used to address the high-priority HIV prevention needs in such communities, including funding community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide services to African Americans. Examples of the programs that CBOs carry out are
    • A program in Washington, DC, that provides information to, and conducts HIV prevention activities for, MSM who do not identify themselves as homosexual. The activities include a telephone help line; Internet resources; and a program in barbershops that includes risk-reduction workshops, condom distribution, and training barbers to be peer educators.
    • A program in Chicago that provides social support to help difficult-to-reach African American men reduce high-risk behaviors. This program also provides women at high risk for HIV infection with culturally appropriate, gender-specific prevention and risk-reduction messages.
    • A program in South Carolina that is focused on changing the behaviors of adolescents to reduce their risk of contracting HIV infection and other STDs.
  • Creates social marketing campaigns, including those focused on HIV testing, perinatal HIV transmission, and the reduction of HIV transmission to partners.
  • Disseminates scientifically based interventions, including
    • SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters About Topics on AIDS), a social-skills training intervention in which peer facilitators help African American women at highest risk reduce their risky sexual behaviors.
    • Many Men, Many Voices (3MV), an STD/HIV prevention intervention for gay men of color that addresses cultural and social norms, sexual relationship dynamics, and the social influences of racism and homophobia.
    • POL (Popular Opinion Leader), which identifies, enlists, and trains key opinion leaders to encourage safer sexual norms and behaviors within their social networks. POL has been adapted for African American MSM and shown to be effective in that population.
    • Healthy Relationships, a small-group intervention for men and women living with HIV/AIDS.
    • WILLOW (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women), to be disseminated in 2007, is a small-group, skills-training intervention for women living with HIV. WILLOW enhances awareness of the risky behaviors associated with HIV transmission, discredits myths regarding HIV prevention for people living with HIV, teaches communication skills in negotiating safer sex, and reinforces the benefits of consistent condom use. WILLOW also teaches women how to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships, discusses the effect of abusive partners on safer sex, and provides information about local shelters for women in abusive relationships.

CDC also supports research to create new interventions for African Americans and to test interventions that have proven successful with other populations for use with African Americans. Additionally, CDC funds agencies through ADAPT (Adopting and Demonstrating the Adaptation of Prevention Techniques) to adapt and evaluate effective interventions for use in communities of color.

In addition, CDC

  • Provides intramural training for researchers who are members of minority races and ethnicities through a program called Research Fellowships on HIV Prevention in Communities of Color.
  • Established the extramural Minority HIV/AIDS Research Initiative (MARI) in 2002 to create partnerships between CDC epidemiologists and researchers who are members of minority races and ethnicities and who work in communities of color. MARI funds epidemiologic and preventive studies of HIV in communities of color and encourages the career development of young investigators. CDC invests $2 million per year in the program and since 2003 has funded 13 junior investigators at 12 sites across the country [20].
Last Modified: September 4, 2008
Last Reviewed: September 4, 2008
Content Source:
Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
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