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But the people who would be most impacted by this government intrusion in their lives—LGBTQ people, IV-drug

users and people of African descent—are already the moral whipping board for a morally intolerant society

in denial about how the epidemic continues to grow at an exponential rate.

 

 

 

The sickness of HIV profiling

By Rev. Irene Monroe

 

In this conservative era of politics and religion, I have noticed how the animus toward people with HIV/AIDS has not abated, even though we are now at the quarter-century milepost of the epidemic.

One of the ways a health care initiative becomes enmeshed with conservative politics and moral intolerance is the new HIV/AIDS prevention program mandating all public health authorities and agencies to report HIV-positive patients to the state.

With government funding for HIV/AIDS prevention shrinking more and more these days, many public health authorities and agencies will be requiring physicians to report to the state the name, social security number, age, address and date of birth of all HIV-positive patients.

And many of these public health authorities and agencies will find themselves in the compromising position of either adhering to mandatory government-imposed HIV name-listing or upholding the confidentiality of the clinician-client relationship.

I asked Dr. David Duong, a gay Vietnamese E.R. physician at Boston Medical Center, how names reporting might impact the patient-physician clinical encounter?

“Mandatory reporting of HIV-positive patients only engenders mistrust in the patient-physician relationship,” he said. “This would potentially endanger both public health and individual rights. There are existing therapies and programs available to those with HIV. Due to the social stigma and risk of social and economic losses from a known HIV infection, these individuals would be less likely to seek testing, treatment, and take precautions in spreading the infection if doctors are seen as law enforcers more than patient advocates. To view there is a conflict between public health and individual rights in mandatory reporting is not quite accurate. This view downplays the therapeutic nature of the patient-physician encounter in promoting both public health and patient well-being.”

Proponents of name-based reporting, however, contest that equitable funding and uniform accounting and tracking of the epidemic can be obtained, which would allow for not only a better patient-physician clinical encounter, but also allow for a more authentic representation of community-based education and management care.

But public health authorities and agencies failing to comply will feel the government’s punitive sting by substantial monetary lost.

Washington D.C., for one, has a Sept. 30, 2006, deadline to comply or it will loss millions of dollars. And in my home state of Massachusetts, the state Department of Health would lose $9 million a year and the Boston Public Health Commission $6 million, money that is used for everything from medications to meals to home health care.

Sadly, the underlying motive for this initiative is not health; it is politically driven to both police and profile people who test HIV-positive. And the motive is not new.

In 1986, conservative political commentator William F. Buckley Jr. suggested that the judicious way to keep account of those who were infected with the virus and methods of transmission was to take those with HIV and tattoo their buttocks and forearms, an act reminiscent of both American slavery and the Holocaust in which Africans and Jews, respectively, were tattooed and treated like animals.

But the people who would be most impacted by this government intrusion in their lives—LGBTQ people, IV-drug users and people of African descent—are already the moral whipping board for a morally intolerant society in denial about how the epidemic continues to grow at an exponential rate.

So I ask: given the fact that physicians must report certain communicable diseases, how would reporting patients who test HIV-positive be different?

“HIV is separate from other reportable communicable infections in that there is no cure and that the medical and socioeconomic consequences of infection are potentially so devastating,” Dr. Duong told me. “HIV infection is associated with already marginalized and discriminated populations. Reporting HIV-positive patients would further alienate and reinforce the vulnerability of these patients. The laws protecting HIV-infected individuals are inadequate, while for other reportable diseases protections are not necessary due to their lack of stigma or their ease of cure.”

And with this intrusion, the epidemic would continue to soar rather than abate because the moral and ethical issues of patient confidentiality, their Fourth Amendment right to bodily integrity and unreasonable searches, and their Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy are all violated at the expense of our government funding unproven HIV/AIDS prevention programs that convey the impression of restoring so-called traditional family values rather than fielding scientifically proven ones that address the issue of HIV/AIDS prevention head on.

The Bush administration, for example, has done more to hinder the fight against AIDS, rather than help it, by promoting an abstinence-only ideology, taking monies from proven disease prevention initiatives, denouncing the effectiveness of condoms, and refusing to fund needle exchange programs.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

And most shocking and inhumane is when a government continues to believe, in the face of hard evidence, that contracting the AIDS virus is a direct and divine consequence of engaging in a particular “lifestyle” and, therefore, continues to devise and justify various name-based approaches to erect its colonies for “lepers.”

Once a government-imposed health care initiative such as this one is mandated for the sake of restoring traditional family values, we as a nation will have built our moral high ground by riding on the backs of our weakest.

And this is not only an act of inhospitality and moral intolerance toward the targeted groups and individuals who test positive for HIV, but it is also a symptom of a sick society that tests negative for compassion.

posted 25 July 2006

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 29 February 2012

 

 

 

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