NPR’s ‘Tavis Smiley Show’ Interviews Columnist About HIV/AIDS Myths in Black Community
In anticipation of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7, NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show" on Wednesday discussed with Dr. Ian Smith, a columnist for Men's Health and the New York Daily News, myths surrounding HIV/AIDS in the black community. According to Smith, HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns are negatively affected by myths that the disease is curable and does not have "the deadly impact that it once had" because many young black people have witnessed a "huge revolution" in HIV-related treatments. Smith said that HIV/AIDS education and awareness must be refocused to reach those people most at risk for HIV infection. In addition, Smith said that the stigma from the early 1980s that HIV/AIDS is a "white, gay disease" persists in the black community. "It is now a disease of everyone and every age," Smith said, adding that until black people in the United States "get beyond" the stigma, "it's going to be hard to get people to go in and be honest and upfront about the testing." Smith also said that the number of HIV cases among individuals ages 50 and older are "increasing rapidly" because some people do not understand that HIV is "not an age disease" and because some physicians do not ask patients in this age range about their sexual behaviors or offer them HIV tests (Smiley, "Tavis Smiley Show," NPR, 2/4).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.