HIV/AIDS and sexual promiscuity in the African-American community
Senator Clinton scored big with the Howard University audience at a PBS hosted presidential debate on Sunday when she suggested that racism is at play in the preponderance of HIV/AIDS in the black community.
In response to a question from National Public Radio's Michelle Martin about how "to stop" the spread of HIV/AIDS among black teenagers, Senator Clinton led off with, "If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country."
The spontaneous outburst of applause the senator got may have given her and her campaign staff warm fuzzies that she told the mostly black audience what they wanted to hear.
But Mrs. Clinton's pandering response showed a lack of courage and information to be honest about the real problems that are tearing up a wide slice of black America.
HIV/AIDS does not serendipitously arrive via the genetic code or any other external cause to which the one infected is a helpless and innocent victim. It is no mystery that a principal way in which this virus is transmitted and spread is through sexual behavior.
It is indeed a tragic truth that this vile infection is disproportionately ravaging the black community. But it is irresponsible to ignore, intentionally or otherwise, the truth that the incidence of sexually promiscuous behavior is disproportionately high in the black community.
Consider data in a report on sexual behavior, just released by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Center for Disease Control. There was a study of a population of adults between the ages of 20 and 59 where information was gathered between 1999 and 2002. The study shows that black Americans are far more sexually active and promiscuous than their white counterparts.
The incidence of sexual activity before the age of 15 found among blacks, 28%, was double that of whites and the proportion of blacks found to have abstained from sex until age 21, 6%, was less than half that of whites.
Of the black males in the study, 46% reported more than 15 female sexual partners over their lifetime compared to 27% of white males. Also, 37% of black males reported having more than two female sexual partners in the previous year, compared to 14% of white males.
Among females, 13% of blacks and 10% of whites reported more than 15 male partners over their lifetime, and 19% of blacks and 9% of whites reported more than two partners in the previous year.
Neither Mrs. Clinton nor any of the other Democratic candidates paid remote attention to these grim realities in addressing the spread of HIV/AIDS among blacks. To do so would have suggested a role that private black individuals have in taking control of their own lives.
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