April is National Minority Health Month. You would think that with the Supreme Court considering the possible overturn of affirmative action, minorities would not need their own health month. But despite what is going on in the Supreme Court, discrimination against minorities still exists, and statistics bare it out. Discrimination can be easily inferred by poverty rates, income levels, education, unemployment rates, incarceration rates and health status. Although the average age of the data is about 5 years old, this blog does an excellent job of summarizing all of these statistics, showing that discrimination is alive and well. If health status is one of the gauges to be used in determining discrimination, consider that between 1999–2000 and 2009–2010, the percentage of adults aged 45–64 with two or more chronic conditions increased 20% for non-Hispanic black, 35% for non-Hispanic white, and 31% for Hispanic adults. Whites account for two and a half times less than blacks. The statistics for Black African Americans and HIV are equally as grim. Blacks accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents (aged 13 years or older,) in 2010, despite representing only 12% to14% of the US population. So these people experience dual discrimination as minorities and people with HIV. Yes, although we are over 30 years into the HIV epidemic, discrimination against people living with HIV still persists. At the core of this discrimination is ignorance, misinformation and prejudice which remains a justification for exclusion from both private and public sector employment opportunities, basic health care needs, isolation, segregation and humiliation. The American Civil Liberties Union continues to document and fight against this discrimination. Just recently a Kansas bill was proposed repealing the state’s 1988 ban on quarantining individuals with HIV and AIDS, harkening back to the earliest, darkest days of the AIDS epidemic.
In support of Minority Health month and to fight against HIV/AIDS discrimination, LIAAC provides education outreach and HIV testing in an effort to end the ignorance and misinformation. We are having an on-site Health Fair Wednesday, April 24, 2013 from 3pm-7pm where there will be education, reentry assistance, case management, rapid STI, HIV and HCV testing, community resources and nutrition information. For more information on our Health Fair and our other education and testing events go to our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/LIAAC.inc/events or call 1-877-865-4222.