Black HIV/AIDS Initiative Becomes Law

With African Americans making up 11 percent of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Diego, yet constituting 25 percent of new HIV cases reported yearly, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved an initiative to “establish projects and implement policy with plans to address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on the African-American community” according to BlackNews.com.

Known as Assembly Bill 1142, the initiative was introduced by Assemblyman Dymally and sponsored by the California State Conference of the NAACP.

Dymally said that AB 1142 “allows for a concentrated effort to further the study that HIV/AIDS has on the African American community” according to BlackNews.com.

“AB 1142 will specifically coordinate prevention and service networks around the state in order to increase the capacity of core service providers,” according to BlackNews.com. “AB 1142 signifies the necessary improvements in the quality of lives for African Americans and will perform a dedicated review into the root causes and the steadily increasing impact of this disease on African American women particularly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) African American women are impacted at a rate of 19 percent higher than those of other races.”

Even though AB 1142 directly affects cities in the Golden State, residents of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area are pleased that such an initiative has been put in place.

“The rate in which African Americans are contracting HIV is absolutely terrifying,” said first-year Howard University College of Dentistry student Eric Holmes. “The fact that AB 1142 is specifically for Black people attests to the fact that HIV is a huge problem within our community and I sincerely hope that is can reduce the number of people getting this deadly virus.”

Other residents of the Washington, DC area feel strongly that an initiative similar to AB 1142 should be put into place.

“It’s no secret that the DC area has an enormous HIV/AIDS rate,” said senior biology major Anise Abernathy. “While I’m happy that California has AB 1142, that’s not the only area that could use such a law. I really urge lawmakers to expand the program on a national level.”

AB 1142 intervenes on behalf of HIV/AIDS impacted African American communities and requires action via a Statewide Steering Committee; an Executive Director to coordinate the Initiative; the implementation of initiative in grossly effected counties; the establishment of technical assistance workshops, and an overview of local, regional and national efforts concerning health disparities relating to African Americans and HIV/AIDS.