Running head: IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS ON AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN 1
IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS ON AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN
The Impact of HIV/AIDS on African American Women
Montclair State University
4 December 2017
Over the past 35 years, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has had the ],mvmost devastating impact amongst the African American community. African Americans today become infected with, and/or due from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Aids far more than any other racial or ethnic group. African American women account for one of the fastest growing populations with HIV. According to the data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015 19 percent of all new infections and 64 percent of new infections among females was attributed to black women. Incidence rates for African American women are 20 times higher than those of their white counterparts, and about five times that of Hispanic females. With the discovery of life-extending medications, such as antiretroviral, officials have noted, a general transition of HIV/AIDS from an acute terminal illness to a chronic condition. However, for African American women the situation still remains in crisis mode.
HIV, a virus that infects and gradually destroys the immune system, is spread by contact with bodily fluids through unprotected sex, sharing of contaminated needles, receiving contaminated blood products, or vertical transmission during childbirth or breastfeeding (Crooks, Baur p.501). It can take a few weeks following infection for symptoms to appear and even then these are dismissed by many because flu-like symptoms - such as fever, sore throat, and fatigue - are considered non-threatening. Following recovery from these mild symptoms, the virus can remain dormant or asymptomatic for a number of years. Without the appropriate treatment, the viral load will increase beside a non-functioning immune system and the condition will progress to AIDS within approximately ten years. Advanced stage symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, and recurrent fungal and bacterial infections, and even cancer. Without treatment, an AIDS patient will succumb to one or more of the opportunistic infections in less than 3 years.
Presently there is no cure HIV/AIDS, however, treatments have advanced enough to maintain low viral loads in an HIV person’s blood and allow these individuals to live longer and heather lives (HIV Diagnosis).
Data collected by the CDC from 2010 through 2014 note that African American females were the largest group affected by HIV in each of those years. The number of new diagnoses attributed to black females was 6,177 (2010) and 4,720 (2014). Even though the number of diagnoses among the group decreased, it is still considerably higher when compared to White (187) and Hispanic/ Latino (1,357) females. Statistical evidence shows that HIV related death rates (per 100,000 population) for black females in 2014 was the highest of all ra...