Medical treatments are available today to help HIV-positive patients live long and healthy lives. The treatment also prevents spreading the disease to others. However, only one in three Black Americans are getting the treatment they need.
Black Americans not getting effective treatment
According to the Centers for Disease Control, although 75 percent of blacks with HIV received care, only 48 percent continued with their medical treatment program. This is a serious problem for two reasons. One is the high rate of HIV infection among Black men, and the other is the increased risk of spreading infection due to not keeping the virus under control.
Powerful antiretroviral drugs are available that help suppress the HIV virus. With proper treatment, HIV-infected patients can stay healthy and reduce the risk of passing the disease on to others at the same time. But Black men, particularly younger men under age 25, are less likely to get treated.
Why treatment is not sought
CDC researchers found that there are socioeconomic issues related to the low rate of treatment among Black Americans. One problem is lack of health insurance and access to proper care. The other issue relates to the stigma among Black Americans regarding the disease. The stigma often prevents them from getting tested, seeking treatment and staying on a treatment program that will improve their health and protect others who come in contact with them.
HIV is very treatable, but it will remain a crises until we can reach everyone and encourage them to talk freely about the disease, get tested, get treated, and remain healthy.