LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A public health researcher says sexually transmitted diseases are disproportionately higher among black Arkansans and that the stigma attached to AIDS deters many blacks from getting help.
Katharine E. Stewart of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health told a state task force yesterday that the rate of HIV among blacks in Arkansas is five times greater than among whites.
Stewart says people with AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases often are poor and are drug users who do not use condoms. Poverty-stricken women might trade sex for money to feed their families and do not demand that their partners wear condoms.
Stewart said she is studying how best to educate black Arkansans who live in rural areas and may not have access to health care. She stressed the importantance of getting community members involved because of the stigma attached to AIDS.
The Arkansas HIV/AIDS Minority Task Force was created by a 2007 state law. The group is to make recommendations to Governor Beebe by November 1st.