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HIV Study is Chilling to Black College Campuses
  Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Feb 11, 2004
David Wahlberg
A study revealing an HIV outbreak among black male college students in North Carolina has caused concern among Atlanta educators and student leaders. A new testing method initiated in North Carolina in 2002 led to the discovery of 84 newly infected male college students, 73 of whom were black. Sixty-seven of the black men had sex with men; 27 also had female partners.
Desmond Drummer, president of a student health association at Atlanta's Morehouse College, said people at his school did not want to "face the facts" about black males who have sex with men "on the down low" because of anti-gay sentiment. Such men may put their girlfriends at risk for HIV. At Atlanta's Spelman College, a predominantly black women's school, HIV education is included in first-year orientation, said Brenda Dalton, director of student health services. Georgia State University sponsors HIV/STD prevention efforts, but none targeted specifically to black students, said Becky Laurens, director of the student health clinic.
The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, which represents 120 historically black colleges and universities, launched a "Stop the Silence" campaign a year and a
half ago to encourage HIV discussion, and added a Web site last year.
Ronald Bass, executive director of Someone Cares, a Smyrna AIDS awareness agency, said another issue is that men who do not use condoms with their girlfriends early on may be reluctant to start using them after they begin having sex with men or find out they have HIV.
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, director of CDC's HIV/AIDS Research Initiative, who assisted with the North Carolina research, said many black people still view HIV as a gay white man's issue. Fitzpatrick said, "We're very concerned that this is not unique to North Carolina. This needs to be addressed throughout the South, and probably throughout the country."
Students and the presidents of North Carolina's 11 historically black colleges will gather at North Carolina Central University in Durham March 19-21 to discuss the issue.
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