For Black Seniors, Pain and Shame from HIV/AIDS

From a study by the University of Alabama comes this saddening story about older blacks with AIDS: African-American Seniors with HIV Hold Shame Inside, According to UA Study.

This is an excerpt from the article:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Older African-Americans with HIV/AIDS frequently draw upon their spiritual beliefs to cope with the disease but rarely disclose it to friends inside or outside the church, according to a study conducted by University of Alabama researchers.

The study, accepted for publication in the journal AIDS Care, is one of the first to look at the stigma of AIDS in older, rural African-Americans in the South.

“While the people found religion and spirituality to be comforting in helping them through this, they did not identify either the church community or organized religion to be helpful at all,” Gaskins said. “When they went to church, they didn’t tell anybody because they weren’t hopeful of getting support.”

In 2005, older adults represented 24 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS, and rates of the disease in older adults are 12 times higher for African-Americans than whites, according to the CDC.

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