North Carolina Newspapers

    PageA2 WiagkMhSakm dutxtide Thursday, January 26, 1989
Spealcer stresses dangers of AIDS to group
?> Chrontelt Staff Wrif r
; . AIDS is running rampant in
T;ihe Afro-American community
*and if the race is not sufficiently
; educated and warned about the
*fnal disease thousands will die,
? said Dr. Richard P. Keeling, presi
5 dent of the American College
5 Health Association. <
Keeling spoke to about 150
; students, teachers and staff mem
i bers at Wake Forest University
? last week as part of the institu
i tion's AIDS Awareness Day.
r "The issyp nf AIDS in
- ty conuiiunities in this country has
Zgol to be addressed, particularly at
^the urban level," Keeling said.
fact is that the frequency of
3 AIDS among people in the black
3race is about twice of what it
> would be expected to be given
^ their frequency in the population."
?> Afro-Americans make up
? about 11.5 percent of this coun
5 u y's population. About 26 percent
3 of the nation's race has the human
^immunodeficiency virus, HIV,
^ tnat causes AIDS, Keeling said.
^ "This overrepresentation
\ occurs not because there's some
thing about being Latin or black.
! that causes AIDS, it's because of
S the connection to IV (intravenous)
5 drug use, poverty and lack of
access to medical services," Keel
ing said. _ *
"A lot of people in black
communities tend to look at this
as a white boy's disease, 'this is a
}? gay man's disease', and that (men
r tality) ir lethal among blacks in
Tv this country and it has got to be
- confronted."
"The mindset has been difficult
--Z*- to confront because when whites
try to tell Afro- Americans that the
' disease is also affecting them,
x Afro-Americans feel whites are
trying to pin the origin of the dis- "
ease on them, said Keeling.
"We have had> a great deal of
? difficulty confronting this because
for a long time people who've
trial to address it were labeled
raafe," Keeling said. "We have
: had to, therefore, be very sensitive
N about it and the obvious way to
- deal with that is to have blacks
. .. educate blacks."
' s The most successful educa
^ tional projects about Acquired
.v Immune Deficiency Syndrome
f have involved Afro-Americans
' teaching each other, Keeling said.
"In urban minority communi
ties, particularly in South Florida,
in some parts of Texas, in New
York, and Philadelphia, this
' (AIDS) has the potential to run
like wild fire through black com
^ munities. And if we don't do.
; something, we're going to be fac
ing potentially thousands and
thousands of deaths among urban
M blacks."
Not only Afro- Americans, but
all people have the "this can't hap
pen to me syndrome" when the
topic of AIDS comes up. Keeling
V told the audience as he presented a
V. series of slides depicting AIDS'
i *
"This could not be my face,"
- Keeling said while showing a pic
r t 1 ?
The Winston-Salem Chronicle is published every Thursday
by the Winston-Salem Chronicle Publishing Co. Inc., 617 N. Lib
erty St. Mailing address: Post Office Box 3154, Winston
Salem, N.C. 27102.
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postage paid at Winston-Salem, N.C. 27102.
The Winston-Salem Chronicle is a charter member of the
fawsfinder service of the Associated Press and a member of
the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the National Newspaper Pub
lishers Association, the North Carolina Press Association and
the North Carolina Black Publishers Association.
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delivery. PUBLICATION USPS NO. 067910.
ture of an Afro-American woman
_ with ? sunken face and skeleton
like body. "This could not be my
future. This intensive care unit,
bed, ventilator, the IV line could
not be connectert to m y body. I
could not someday experience this
pain. This could not be my loneli
ness, my isolation, my loss. This
could not be the end of my plans.
This could not be my family, my
children, my spouse. It couldn't
happen to me."
Because the majority of peo
ple are familiar with what Keeling
called "AIDS 101" ? the basic
facts and data about the disease,
he declined to spend a lot of time
rehashing what people already
"The outcome -- no matter
what the clinical disease caused
by AIDS is -- the outcome is pret
ty predictable," said Keeling.
' "Mortality rates have been
? extraordinarily high. To average
the amount from 1981 to the cur
rent day, they come out to 56 per
cent. That does not, however, sugT
gest that that 44 percent of people
with AIDS will be long-term sur
Medical experts still expect
for 99 percent or more of the peo
ple diagnosed with full-blown
AIDs to die of the disease within
an average of 27 months from the
day of their diagnosis, at an aver
^ age age of 34.2 years.
Unfortunately, the undergrad
uate student carrying the virus that
causes AIDS doesn't act sick, feel
sick or look sick until about eight
years after contracting the disease,
Keeling said
"Although they can transmit
the virus to somebody else, they're
_ usually not identified, they usually
don't realize they have it them
selves," said Keeling. "So that
- makes this an invisible problem.
The invisibility of AIDS, there
fore, gets in the way of our trying
to convince people to take it seri
Today there are about 82,500
college aged students with AIDS.
That figure will jump to a quar
ter of a million in 1991 to half a
million. By 1993 there will be
100,000 new cases of AIDS a
year, and 100,000 deaths caused
by AIDS annually.
"Which means that by 1993 -
which is about the time that some
of you will have just finished col
lege ? by 1993, we will in fact
have the disease AIDS that will
kill four times as many young
people as drunk drivers, six times
as~ many as murder, eight times as
many as suicide, 20 times as many
as leukemia, 50 times as many as
brain tumors. By the time most of
you are out of college AIDS will
Photos by Charmane Delaverson
Above, members of the audience listen in rapt attention as Dr. Richard P. Keeling, left photo,
addresses participants in Wake Forest*s AIDS Awareness Day.
be the most common cause of
- death," said Keeling, ?
Because members of the gay
community are changing their
sexual habits, the number of new
AIDS cases- in that segmenr of the
population has dropped from 67
percent in September 1987 to 58
percent in September 1988. As of
January 1989, that figure is at 54
percent, Keeling said.
AIDS cases among infra
venous drug users is rising rapidly
from 15.5 in 1987 percent to 23
percent last year. That figure has
climbed to 25 percent this month.
Transmission of AIDS among het
erosexuals has increased from
about 40 percent in 1987 to 4.5
percent in 1988, and is now at 5
percent. > ,
Drug users must stop sharing
needles, and heterosexuals must
abstain or practice safe sex in
order for the number of AlbS
cases in those segments of the
population to decrease, Keeling
said. . t. ?
Safe sdx means getting to
know your partner before engag
ing in intercourse, using latex
condoms coated in & spermicide
and not mixing alcohol withrsex,
Keeling said. ^
He admitted it was easy for
him to tell college students and
others that they have to change
their lifestyles to be safe from the
AIDS virus, but that, he said, is
tough to do.
"We should acknowledge that
these changes are tough," Keeling
said. "That acknowledgement
doesn't mean we should give up. It
means we should recognize,
among other things, that there are
some things that make it tough for
people to change." **
But in referring to a chart list
ing the rapid spreading of other
sexually transmitted diseases --
gonorrhea, herpes, clymidia ?
Keeling said making changes has
been tough all along.
"Ultimately, the only thing
that will prevent HIV infection is ?
self-esteem," Keeling said. "I can't
stop you from developing AIDS. I
can't stop you from being infected
Please see page A3
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