Black AIDS Awareness Day

On the occasion of the third annual Black AIDS Awareness Day, the government says HIV and AIDS are on the rise in America's black community, especially among teenagers, and it's hitting young black women especially hard. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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"More than 50 percent of the new cases is found in the African-American community in the whole."

And it gets worse. Dr. Patrice Yarbough of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston says there are alarming rates of HIV and AIDS among black teenagers.

"One in four of the newly identified HIV infection cases is falling into the category of teenagers."

And more than two thirds of those teenagers are black women. Dr. Yarbough says it's mostly because of personal behavior. Young people think they're immortal, and they don't think about the deadly consequences of bad decisions. There's also a lot of misinformation out there.

"A lot of people think we've got HIV infections and AIDS under control because we've got so many therapies for it. What people often times do not understand is that this virus mutates very rapidly. So today's medications are not gonna work tomorrow."

Yarbough says continuous never-ending education is the only answer.

"With no likely candidate vaccine coming out in the next year or two, we have to continue with the education."

Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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