Press Release

Race Still Matters: Race, Poverty and AIDS in Black America

Vienna, Austria - July 19, 2010 - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study today looking at race, poverty and HIV among heterosexuals in 23 poor inner-city neighborhoods in the United States. The study found that when other racial ethnic groups are confronted with the same social determinants faced by Black Americans their risk for HIV rises.

Some media organizations are erroneously concluding that race is not a factor in HIV transmission in this population. This is a false choice and an absurd and dangerous conclusion. The point is not whether race or poverty matters, the point is race and poverty matter. Black people are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. One of the reasons this is so is because we are poor. Seventy-seven percent of the participants in the study were Black and the majority of the residents in the communities surveyed were Black.

According to a study by U.S. Department of Agriculture, nine out of every 10 Black Americans who reach the age of 75 spend at least one of their adult years in poverty. By the age of 25, the findings show, 48.1 percent of black Americans will have experienced at least one year in poverty. By age 40, the number grows to two-thirds and to more than three-fourths by age 50. More than 90 percent will have lived below the poverty line by age 75.

The researchers say that by age 28, the Black population will have reached the cumulative level of lifetime poverty that the white population arrives at by age 75. "In other words, Blacks have experienced in nine years the same risk of poverty that whites experience in 56 years," the report stated.

"Does poverty matter? Of course, but to pretend that race is not a huge factor in who is poor in America is naïve at best and maliciously racist at worst. The fact that virtually every Black American will experience poverty at some point during their adulthood speaks volumes about AIDS in America," says Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "Poor people get AIDS. Black people are poor."

Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, is available for interviews and press inquiries. Contact Mondella Jones at Mondellaj@blackAIDS.org or (323) 681-4297. In Vienna call 0681-2048-3398. www.BlackAIDS.org

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