EVERYONE’S AT RISK AND NEEDS MORE FUNDS — ESPECIALLY **OUR** GROUP
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/03/28
An unhappy corollary to affirmative action and political correctness has been the occasional competition among self-appointed spokespeople and activists to bring to their particular minority group the maximum of attention and to their own organization the associated funds.
The big story about HIV/AIDS and Native Americans is that they are not affected so disproportionately by HIV/AIDS as are African Americans or Hispanics. National data on HIV tests find positive tests among Native Americans at rates that are not much above those of white Americans, definitely lower than among Hispanics, and far lower than among African Americans:
“Overall, American Indians and Alaska Natives in 2004 had a diagnosis rate of 11.1 per every 100,000 people. That compares to a rate of 76.3 among blacks, 29.5 among Hispanics and nine among whites” (“Conference focuses on Natives and HIV/AIDS”, AP 4/30/2006, Mary Pemberton)
“In 2005, data from the CDC showed that the rate of HIV and AIDS diagnosis for American Indians and Alaska Natives was 10.6 per 100,000, compared with 72.8 for blacks, 28.5 for Hispanics, 9.0 for whites and 7.6 for Asians and Pacific Islanders” (“Navajos continue to battle AIDS and HIV despite cultural taboos”, AP 6/11/07, Felicia Fonseca) .
The relative rates, compared to white Americans as 1, are:
blacks 8.1-8.5; Hispanics 3.2-3.3, Native Americans 1.18-1.23
When it comes to actually dying from “HIV disease”, the relative rates again place Native Americans well below blacks and Hispanics (see “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008). For males, the relative death-rates from HIV disease in 2002-4 were (again relative to white Americans as 1)
blacks 7.4, Hispanics 1.9, Native Americans 0.84, Asians 0.3
and for females the relative rates were
blacks 24, Hispanics 3.4, Native Americans 1.4, Asians 0.22
Those numbers are the basis for what has acknowledged even by the mainstream and the media: that in the United States, HIV/AIDS has become a disease of the black community, that in other racial groups it is only such high-risk individuals as drug abusers or promiscuous gay men who need to be concerned about HIV/AIDS. Nevertheless, self-serving activists make a fuss about the situation of Native Americans, even though they are affected at rates comparable to those among white Americans:
“On March 20, 2008, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) honors the second annual National Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Native organizations together selected the date and each year the first official day of spring will symbolize a new era of awareness, prevention and treatment around HIV/AIDS in Indian Country. . . . ‘When we think of the impact HIV/AIDS has on communities of color in the U.S., we must broaden our scope to include Native and Indigenous communities. Per capita, American Indians/Alaska Natives have the third highest rates of HIV/AIDS, behind African Americans and Hispanics,’ says Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, NMAC’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy. ‘We must ramp up our efforts to combat stigma, provide culturally competent prevention strategies, better access to care. This is a real crisis, and it deserves our attention’.
Yes, it’s true that Native Americans “have the third highest rates of HIV/AIDS, behind African Americans and Hispanics”—but “behind” so far that it doesn’t deserve mention in the same breath.