More than 500,000 U.S. blacks carry HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to the report today from the Black AIDS Institute, based in Los Angeles. Seven of 15 poor countries served by Bush's $15-billion international treatment and prevention program have fewer infected people, the group said.
Blacks account for about half of new HIV infections in the U.S. each year, even though they represent 13 percent of the population, government figures show. The virus has become the leading cause of death in black women ages 25 to 34 years, and the second-leading cause for men 35 to 44, said Phill Wilson, the institute's chief executive officer. While Bush requires that countries have a national AIDS plan to get funds for HIV treatment, the U.S. has no plan of its own, Wilson said.
``The lack of a comprehensive AIDS strategy is devastating,'' Wilson said in a telephone interview yesterday. ``We continue to work in this environment of `Alice in Wonderland' HIV prevention, where what is, isn't, and what isn't, is.'' source