A colleague recently suggested addressing racism in the U.S. is too difficult. You know “the issue with slavery and race, people don’t want to talk about it.” Why not start with “low hanging fruit”? You know “kinda like what they did with HIV and AIDS.” Look at the progress we have made in this area.
While there has been tremendous progress in morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS for certain groups, one group in particular now bears the greatest disease burden. I happen to belong to that group…Black women. At some point, we must confront structural racism in the US as a root cause of health inequities. If we are too afraid to acknowledge the existence of structural racism, we will never be able to improve health or other social inequities.
“Blacks/African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people living with HIV, compared to other races/ethnicities. In 2017, Blacks/African Americans accounted for 13% of the US population but 43% (16,694) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.“*