Magic Johnson—who announced his HIV-positive status 15 years ago—was just on CNN discussing his new nationwide campaign to "end Black HIV/AIDS. It's an ambitious agenda and sets an initial goal of halving the infection rate by 2011. There was some good conversation between Magic and anchor Don Lemon on how HIV has shifted from a primarily white and gay issue to a black and brown issue.
Unfortunately, Lemon gets it wrong with the popular misconception, "Black women are most at risk for HIV from partners who are on the down-low." (Transcript posted when available) Not true. Black gay men are the most at risk for HIV. Luckily, Johnson did not dwell on this issue and spoke on the need for more testing and acceptance, and, less stigma. But let's not come down too hard on CNN—they're devoting a significant portion of today's programming to World AIDS Day and were recently recognized by Poz for their splendid coverage of HIV issues.
The Los Angeles Times profiles the Magic Johnson Foundation's new initiative and offers some context about local infection trends:
"Latinos and blacks in the county with HIV tend to learn of their infection too late to get the maximum benefit from drug therapies.Seventy-two percent of Latinos find out they are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus less than one year before they become sick with full-blown AIDS, and among blacks the rate is 53%."
The report echoes what we all know, ie, "the stigma of HIV/AIDS persists strongly among some blacks and Latinos, and that minority men who have sex with men may be less likely to identify themselves as gay or bisexual"—but makes no mention of recent recommendations to reduce homophobia in the black community, one of the driving forces behind the stigma. Also no mention of that on the CNN segment with Magic Johnson.
UPDATE: Rep. Maxine Waters right now (2:22 EST) on CNN. Her sister died from AIDS-related causes..
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