HIV prevention needs of black Caribbean population overlooked in UK
National HIV prevention strategy needed for Black Caribbean population.
A new report by NAT (National AIDS Trust) shows that the black Caribbean population in the UK is disproportionately affected by HIV. Black Caribbean people make up 1% of the UK population but account for 3% of people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is over four times higher than in the white population. Despite this, a national HIV prevention strategy for the black Caribbean population does not exist.
HIV and black Caribbean communities in the UK, analyses data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and shows that 1,218 black Caribbean people were diagnosed with HIV between 2004 and 2008 in the UK.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT says;
“Black Caribbeans are a group that are disproportionately affected by HIV and yet frequently overlooked. In the UK we have specific national HIV prevention strategies for gay and bisexual men and for black Africans but no strategy for the black Caribbean population. We are ignoring the health needs of this group and it is having serious consequences for HIV rates.”
The report also analyses some of the specific issues that affect black Caribbean people living with HIV. There are high rates of other sexually transmitted infections and stigma and discrimination is reported to be particularly strong in this community.
Deborah Jack continues;
“A national prevention strategy for the black Caribbean population is needed, not just to ensure this group get information they need to protect their health but also to address the specific cultural issues that affect HIV rates. Addressing homophobia, working with faith organisations and specific peer support services would all have an impact on HIV rates among black Caribbean people.”
The report makes a series of recommendations including setting-up regional and local STI prevention campaigns targeting the black Caribbean population and working with churches, faith-based organisations and the media to address stigma and discrimination.
Notes to the editor:
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