Tthe Spread of STDS and AIDS Among the African American Community


Recent studies have concluded that young African American adults stand higher chances of contracting STDS/AIDS, than white or Latino adults. Most findings support the notion that social problems such as poverty are to blame. This research proposal seeks to determine the root causes of these disturbing findings, and suggest feasible solutions. Previous researches covering this topic have been discussed, whereby the proposal seeks to find gaps between theory and practice. The role of stakeholders such as the media and government will also be evaluated.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Sept 2010), African Americans made up approximately 45 percent of new infections in 2006. Black men have been noted as the leading new cases of reported infections, followed by black women, Latino men, white men, Latino women, and white women in that particular order. STDS and AIDS have also been established as among the top ten causes of death in the African American Community.

Various educational programs have been initiated to inform members of the black community on the use of vaccines and other preventive measures. Even though such programs report that there has been a decline in risky behavior among people who attend them, African Americans still lead in the rate of infections of STDS and HIV in the STD statistics for the USA (CDC). This, therefore, brings up several questions, such as; how effective are those programs? What are the media and the government doing to solve this problem?

Literature Review

Recent studies have been conducted in several states to affirm the theory that African Americans have higher chances of getting STDS and AIDS than whites and Latinos. In a news release by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH, June 2008), African American males are more likely to get infected with HIV than their white counterparts, although their sexual behaviors were more or less alike. Some of the recent findings report that this could be due to different income levels, housing conditions, cultural stigma and a lack of a good insurance cover (Whitehead 1997).

The factors mentioned above thereby hinder the effectiveness of programs put in place to safeguard the health of the general public. Cultural stigma, for example, influences the majority of members of the African American community from getting tested for STDS in advance and thereby curing these diseases before they become life-threatening (Wheeler 2004). Black women have also been found to stand higher chances of contracting STDS than white women, thereby stating that the rate of the overall infection is disproportional in the United States according to race or ethnicity (McCree & Jones 2009).

Although African Americans are more susceptible to other health conditions such as heart diseases, cancer and blood pressure disparities, STDS and HIV conditions present a major challenge for them. STDS and AIDS have been noted to be among the top ten causes of death (National Institutes of Health 2006). Other than through sexual intercourse, the major cause for contracting STDS and AIDS is injection drugs (California Department of Public Health 2009). Incarcerated black men, especially drug abusers, have higher chances of getting infected due to the availability of needles and also the increasing rate of male-to-male sexual contact (Braithwaite & Arriola 2003).

Discrimination in education and employment tends to marginalize young black people, which often results in their engagement in risky behaviors such as drug use and commercial sex (Davis 2003). As a consequence, there are fewer members in the African American community of whom stable relationships can be established, which reduces the chances of monogamy, in the process increasing rates of STD/AIDS transmission (Adimora 2002). Several educative programs are being conducted by various charitable institutions, such as People of Color in Crisis (POCC) located in Brooklyn, NY, which is actively involved in community work to inform and educate black people on how better to take care of their health.

Research Questions

The main aim of this research proposal is to investigate on the prevalence of STDS and AIDS in the African American community. This question will seek to answer if there is a relationship between culture and rate of infection of STDS and AIDS. Therefore, does culture have an influence on the rate of spread of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS? The second question will be set to determine the effectiveness of vaccines, abstinence and educative programs, as well as the role that should be played by both the media and the government in solving societal issues.


The research in question will use both primary and secondary sources of information. Primary information will comprise of interviews with infected as well as non-infected persons. The interviews will be conducted in an educational campaign across several states, in high school, college and community buildings. Potential respondents who will not be available for comment will be provided with detailed questionnaires and a comprehensive follow up will be conducted via video conferencing or telephone. Secondary information will be important for purposes of trend comparison, analysis, and conclusion.

The study group includes African Americans of 15-45 years of age. The lower target limit is 200 people, though there is no upper limit of the same. Respondents will be asked to give a brief account of their sexual history, their view on the prevalence of STDS in their community, as well as suggested interventions to reduce the rate of spread of the STDS. The study will seek to establish the common causes of the spread of STDS, as well as the role of the media in preventing or educating young African Americans on the issue of STDS and AIDS.

Strengths and Weaknesses

There are several advantages of the proposed research, such as the availability of data in this particular field. Several databases are available, which provide current as well as past findings and conclusions in the area of interest, such as the CDC. Another key advantage for this proposal is that the population of interest is quite definite. This creates ease of analysis and reduces the risk of ambiguity.

The African American community may feel victimized by this research, which seeks to determine some of the underlying issues that cause the prevalence of STDS in their community. It should also be noted that even though there is a high rate of STD infection in the black community, families in that society are different; therefore research findings will not apply to the whole population. Also, it is difficult to apportion a particular rate of morality to various races or ethnic groups.


The media has a major role to play in informing the young generation on issues dealing with STDS and AIDS. Social networking has made it easier for young people to interact and meet potential sexual partners, though there are no checks in place to ascertain that content displayed is not sexually stimulating. The government is failing in its mandate to ensure that people do not misuse their freedom of expression. There is a common phrase in the media; “sex sells”, which tends to encourage the portrayal of sexy images in order to increase the marketability of products and services. Women have been used as sex objects; posters of semi-nude models rule billboards as well as visual advertisements.

The research will also assist users to re-evaluate the government’s role in taking care of minority groups. Although the government supports charitable institutions, and also allows companies to donate to such establishments in tax accounting, there is still room for improvement. The government could for one, ensure that quality healthcare is available for all. The government backed healthcare policy does not provide nearly as many benefits as private health policies. African-Americans living on or below the poverty line, who form a significant proportion in their community, will mostly take the cheaper public alternative. The government should therefore strive to provide basic services that improve on the health of these groups, as well as empowerment programs.


Adimora A., & Schoenbach V.J. (2002). Contextual factors and the Black-White disparity in heterosexual HIV transmission. Epidemiology, 13 (707-712).

Braithwaite R.L. & Arriola K.R. (2003) Male prisoners and HIV prevention: a call for action ignored. American Journal of Public Health ,93 (759-763).

California Department of Public Health (2009). Fact Sheet: African Americans and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in California. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2008. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Davis, J.E. (2003). Early schooling and academic achievement of African American males. Urban Education, 38 (515-537).

McCree D. H. & Jones K. T. (2009). African Americans and AIDS: A Community in Crisis. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Minnesota Department of Health (2008). News Release: New reports show high STD and HIV rates among African Americans. ST. Pauls, MN: MDH Communications Office.

National Institutes of Health (2006). Young African American Adults At High Risk for HIV, STDs Even In Absence of High-Risk Behaviors. GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Whitehead T.L. (1997). Urban low income African American men, HIV/AIDS, and gender identity. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 11 (411-447).

Wheeler D. (2004). HIV prevention research for African Americans: current and future directions. Journal of Black Psychology, 30 (40-58).