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Eliminating Health Disparities—Quality Healthcare for African Americans
By Martin Hamlette, JD, MHA
Published July 20, 2016

Did you know that African Americans in Los Angeles suffer disproportionately from HIV/AIDS? As the largest county in the state of California, health disparities remain pervasive among populations of color. Specifically, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department reports that despite a decline in recent years the highest rates of HIV diagnosis are among African American males and females. This disproportionate trend is also reflected among the rates of STDs among African Americans:

  • The Early Syphilis (ES) rate among African Americans is 2.6 times higher than the corresponding rate for Caucasians.
  • The rate of Gonorrhea (GC) among African Americans is 4.6 times higher than the rate among Caucasians and 5.0 times higher than the rate among Latinos.
  • The rates of Chlamydia (CT) are highest among African Americans.

Collectively, these statistics serve as an alarm to NMA and the residents of Los Angeles! There is no better time than now to work collaboratively towards significantly reducing the rates of HIV/AIDS and STDs in Los Angeles and the state of California at large.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend many simple strategies to help prevent HIV including the following:

  • Never share needles
  • Always use a condom
  • Find out if PrEP or PEP is right for you
  • Know your HIV status—Get Tested

OP - martin hamlette (tony wafford)

The National Medical Association (NMA) is calling for ALL NMA members, educators, students and local health care practitioners to join us this year to highlight and resolve these healthcare challenges. While there is no “one size fits all” approach, we do encourage you to be a part of the solution. The National Medical Association is a member of the Partnering and Communicating Together to Act Against AIDS initiative (PACT), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and some of the nation’s leading organizations representing the populations most affected by HIV and AIDS. We are working diligently across the country to educate physicians and the communities they serve about HIV prevention strategies including education around PrEP.

During the National Medical Association’s 114th Annual Convention, on Saturday, July 30th at 8:00AM the FREE annual Walk A Mile with a Child event will take place at L.A. Live. This health fair will feature health screenings for HIV, diabetes and vision. There will also be food, activities and exciting giveaways! NMA celebrates the progress that Los Angeles has made towards eliminating health disparities. However, there is still much work to be done and we look forward to working collaboratively to face the challenges ahead. We are honored to host our 114th Annual Convention in Los Angeles and we look forward to seeing you at the Walk A Mile with A Child event! 

 

 

Established in 1895, The National Medical Association (NMA) is the collective voice of African American physicians.

Categories: Family | Health | Op-Ed | Opinion
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