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According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “African Americans account for more than half of the 40,000 new HIV infections estimated to occur in the United States per year. Moreover, AIDS is the number one killer among Blacks between the ages of 25 and 44.” This frightens me because my Uncle is HIV positive. Nevertheless, I believe that the reason why political figures, such as President Bush are not taking the HIV/AIDS epidemic seriously is because the disease is not prominent in the White society.
Unfortunately, the President focuses most of his attention on other nations. Although there is research being done on AIDS, certain institutions and organizations need to focus their attention on discussing issues, such as transmission, protection and the vulnerability of the virus in Black America.
My Uncle Jerry Holmes, now 43, is HIV positive. The nurses told him that it would not be long before he develops AIDS. He now lives each waking moment dreading the day his doctor informs him that he has the syndrome.
After attempting to hang himself, overdose on prescription medication and jump off a bridge, Jerry no longer enjoys his life. Moreover, he does not communicate with his mother, wife, or children anymore because he feels like an outcast. The virus has not only demeaned his personality, but also taken away his sense of hope. This is why our country’s main priority needs to be educating our nation about the disease, especially Black Americans.
To many of us, President Bush is an inspirational figure; however, he is failing to educate the Black population about HIV/AIDS.
Furthermore, he is focusing most of his attention on issues not associated with the United States. The Aids Action Organization states, “During the President’s address to the nation on January 2004, he did not once discuss any plans for action in dealing with the AIDS epidemic. Therefore, the organization sent a letter to the White House urging him to tackle the topic.” Some people believe that the reason why President Bush did not address the United States about HIV/AIDS is because it is not a major threat to the White Americans. However, if Caucasian America was the leading population with the virus, the concern of government officials might progress. Furthermore, since our nation’s hierarchy is not attacking the subject of HIV/AIDS, the African-American population is suffering tremendously due to a consistent loss of family, friends and neighbors. Nonetheless, the virus is endlessly growing in the African-American community and becoming known as, the Black plague. Yet, with the proper resources, the African-American society can persevere.
Instead of spending money on other nations, President Bush needs to spend more time funding programs to educate African Americans about HIV/AIDS. Moreover, this virus is crucial to our nation because it is demolishing a group of people, the Black’s. As an alternative to using funding to benefit other nations, Bush needs to satisfy our country’s concerns by providing our nation with hope instead of the doubt of finding the essentials we need to dominate the virus. One way Bush can educate minorities is by appointing an AIDS committee to each state to inform the inner city youth on ways to avoid the epidemic. Moreover, many inner city schools are not teaching Blacks and other minorities about the disease. Nonetheless, about 6 years ago, my last year at a historically black middle school, I sat in my health class discussing the respiratory system, circulatory system and other major functions in the body. However, we did not discuss HIV/AIDS. Although we urged our teacher to enlighten us about the disease, he instructed us to disregard the issue and focus on his topic, the process of the brain. My teacher did not seem to care if we were not educated on the disease. Nonetheless, he was a black teacher. We were black students. We were unaware. But, he was not the only teacher that did not discuss the illness; no teacher in our school tackled the so-called horrendous subject. It seemed like they did not care. On the other hand, when I went to high school, I attended a prestigious catholic school, Bishop Kenny. There, whites were the majority. From my freshman year through my senior year, my teachers educated us about the causes and effects of HIV/AIDS, and taught us ways to prevent the disease from occurring.
One day, I visited a Caucasian friend of mine, Jeff Brown. As I wandered around his home, I spotted a health book lying on a computer desk. It was his little sister’s book. She attended a predominately White public junior high school. I picked up her book and scrutinized the material. Inside her textbook were worksheets with AIDS as the main topic. Her class was learning about the causes and effects of the disease. As she and I conversed, I noticed that this girl knew as much about the illness as I did. If I did not attend a Caucasian high school, my present awareness of Aids would plummet. It is unfortunate that Blacks are uneducated on an illness that is now becoming their own. The power to change this negative circumstance lies amongst our nation’s hierarchy. Unfortunately, government officials, such as the President, are only interested in what they deem to be a major problem instead of viewing society’s major concerns, such as the AIDS epidemic.
Stigmas may also contribute to the lack of teaching HIV/AIDS to African Americans in our society because they cause people to hold certain stereotypes against issues or topics. For example, a person may view a HIV/AIDS victim to be a Black homosexual, drug addict or a person that partakes in promiscuous sex. Therefore, discussing the issue of HIV/AIDS may be uncomfortable for a leader or professional to converse in a classroom or in a predominately Black community. However, our country needs to strengthen HIV/AIDS education in the African-American population.
Another way Bush can assist in educating Black’s about the virus is by passing a law forcing teachers to attend seminars on how to cope with stigmas. Therefore, it will be less stressful to inform the students on the subject. Furthermore, inner city schools can perform skits and plays to notify Black students about the virus. They can also have fundraisers by marching or selling candies. The monies received from these events can further research the illness. Other activities that might aid in the education of AIDS is developing races, walks and jogs against the syndrome across the nation while handing out pamphlets informing the participants about the transmission, symptoms, and ways of preventing the virus. After all, everyone is vulnerable to the disease.
Nevertheless, radio stations can also contribute to educating African Americans about the virus. For instance, many radio stations chat with their audiences about songs, music performers and Raves. Yet they do not discuss the AIDS epidemic. The radio stations can add AIDS facts to their commercials, thus, alerting the African American community about the disease. Secondly, the stations can create an open forum or discussion on their web site that allows the audience to post remarks about the topic. In addition, the radio announcers must respond to the messages. If this occurs, the African-American community is a step closer to developing a better HIV/AIDS educated population.
Religion also contributes to the lack of effective teaching of HIV/AIDS in the Black community. For instance, for college, I am attending a Catholic Institution of higher learning, Xavier University. Unlike most public colleges or universities, Xavier does not permit the distribution of condoms on campus by faculty, staff or any organization. Our school’s religious affiliation feels that it is not necessary to provide its students with protection from the disease. However, if our campus allows the distribution, it might avoid students from getting the disease. As an alternative to this problem, Xavier needs to allow its health services department to supply the students with protection. After all, organizations are allowed to conduct the HIV/AIDS test on campus. Besides, if this does not work, a second alternative is to provide the students with a phone number or locations where they can receive free condoms, or other sorts of protection, including information on the virus.
All in all, the virus called AIDS is forming rapidly in our nation, especially in the African-American population. Stigmas, such as one being homosexual, addicted to drugs, and partaking in promiscuous sex contribute to the reasons why there is a lack of education about the epidemic in the inner-city population. Forming committees, organizations, marathons, parades, and radio discussions nation-wide informing its audience on HIV/AIDS will decrease the statistics of HIV/AIDS occurring per year. Although it will not be an easy process, with the help of leaders, such as Bush, schools, religious organizations, and communities, we can overpower this war.
I spent approximately one week writing my English essay and developed three rough drafts before completing my final paper. I am proud of myself because I am getting better at criticizing my papers. However, creating this final draft was not an easy process because it was an opinionated research paper, instead of a more factual one. However, I am confident that I am now a better writer. This essay helped me to improve my research skills and will also prepare me for my future writing assignments.
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