Tuesday, February 7, 2012

African-Americans and the toll of AIDS

HIV-AIDS is the third leading cause of death among African-American men and women between the ages of 35 and 44. Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which aims to lower that tragic statistic through education, testing, involvement and treatment of the disease.

African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial groups in the United States. They disproportionately represent both new infections and fatalities, says Drenna Waldrop-Valverde, an investigator with Emory's Center for AIDS Research, and a professor in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

"Unfortunately, in this country, race and socio-economic status are very closely tied together," says Waldrop-Valverde. She is conducting an NIH-funded study of the effects of health literacy on drug compliance in African Americans living with HIV-AIDS.

"Taking medications just as the doctor tells you to take them, day in and day out, can have a greater benefit on the health of those with HIV than nearly any other factor," Waldrop-Valverde says.

How is HIV/AIDS affecting your community? Click here to see an interactive AIDS map of the United States.

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AIDS: From a new disease to a leading killer

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