Condoms urged in prisons to curb HIV/AIDS in blacks
U.S. prisons should make condoms available to inmates and test for HIV as part of a broader effort to curb the spread of AIDS among blacks, hit disproportionately hard by the incurable disease, experts urged on Thursday.
The National Minority AIDS Council advocacy group, backed by U.S. black lawmakers and medical leaders, issued a series of recommendations aimed at U.S. policymakers to slow the epidemic among blacks, 10 times more likely than whites to have AIDS.
"In 2006, AIDS in America is a black disease," said Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles.
With U.S. black men seven times more likely than whites and three times more likely than Latinos to be imprisoned, the council's report said incarceration has become "one of the most important drivers of HIV infection among African-Americans."
More than half of new U.S. HIV infections are in blacks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While blacks make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, more than 40 percent of U.S. prisoners are black. The AIDS rate among prisoners is three times the rate in the general public.
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, most often is spread through sexual contact or intravenous drug use.
Behavior like unprotected homosexual sex and injection drug use raises HIV infection risk in prisons, and the problem is compounded when black men infected in prison then transmit the virus to others after their release, the report stated.
New HIV statistics indicate increasing toll of AIDS on African-American community