Although both African Americans and whites dwell in the same society, there is a very high disparity between their culture as seen in their beliefs, attitudes and practices. These two cultures thus differ in the way they perceive HIV/AIDS; the causes, spread, surveillance and prevention (Avert, 2010). In this essay the Africa Americans’ beliefs, attitudes and practices related to HIV/AIDS will be compared and contrasted against those of the White Americans in order to generate knowledge on the factors that may promote or inhibit the HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
Generally, African Americans tend to get infected more than whites. Most blacks have a belief that they are discriminated in every area and field in US society (Duncan, Miller, Borskey, Fomby, Dawson, 2004). Consequently, they have a biased prejudice that doctors and other physicians entrusted with treating and testing for HIV/AIDS do not give them the kind of attention and advice they deserve. As a result, many among the infected blacks do not seek medical attention such as administration of antiretroviral therapy and the others refuse to take a test (The Body, 2010).
In addition, a very high proportion of Africa American youth practice are IDUs (injecting drug users)—especially in the street gangs–which increases their chances of getting infected with HIV/AIDS (Davis, Sloan, McMaster, Kilbourne, 2007). African American men generally have a negative attitude towards the use of condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention: They belief that condoms inhibit pleasure during sexual intercourse.
Further, according to a study that was conducted among college students, most young African American women at college level have build a culture of trust in their partners—they do not expect their male partners to be promiscuous and consequently, they have no thoughts of engaging in safe sex (Duncan, Miller, Borskey, Fomby, Dawson, 2004). Trust on partners who are otherwise untrustworthy has been found to one of the greatest causes of HIV/AIDS among the blacks (Davis, Sloan, McMaster, Kilbourne, 2007).
On the other hand, White Americans have totally different beliefs, practices and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. About two decades ago, the White Americans perceived HIV/AIDS as the disease for gay men. However, things have changed and HIV/AIDS is now prevalent in heterosexual couples as it is among the gay couples. Unfortunately, many White Americans in heterosexual relationships still hold to this belief and do not practice safe sex with their partners.
Research has found that there are many white American males who are bisexual—they practice sexual relationships with both female and male lovers, despite the fact that they have wives and families (Avert, 2010). There has also been a tendency on complacency regarding the use of condoms among the White Americans since the introduction of antiretroviral drugs: Unlike black Americans, most Whites go for early testing on HIV/AIDS since they have better access to medical facilities and are relatively well off in income and living standards than most blacks.
Consequently, they are able to manage and control the disease in its early stages than the blacks once they discover that they are infected (Davis, Sloan, McMaster, Kilbourne, 2007). This has led to a belief that the disease is not as serious as taken to be, since infected individuals can live complete a lifespan, due to the effective medical care provided to them by the US government. It is no wonder that they no longer consider prevention so fatal to their lives.
IDUs also from a substantial percentage of White Americans—HIV/AIDS transmission through this practice ranks the second among White Americans (Davis, Sloan, McMaster, Kilbourne, 2007). . For both of the cultures discussed above, HIV/AIDS programs can succeed or fail, depending on the approach used to implement the program. In the case of the African Americans, the fact that there are many of them who do not go for HIV/ADS testing imply they could be living with the virus, yet they do not know.
This can greatly limit the success of prevention programs because they are not willing to be tested at the first place. On the other hand, prevention programs can be designed especially for the African Americans to eliminate any thoughts discrimination. The biggest challenge that could possibly cause failure of the prevention program actually lies in the negative attitudes towards condoms upheld by black males and the complacency of white Americans in using them to protect themselves because they limit the effectiveness of practicing safe sex.
In addition, a prevention program is likely to be successful in both cultures because most of the practices, beliefs and attitudes related to HIV/AIDS that they uphold are not very deep sited for the reason that United States is a mixed culture society and does not cling to one way of life. As such, it is possible to overcome these barriers through adequate HIV/AIDS education and awareness and help in overcoming further growth of the disease in the entire American society. References Avert (2010) HIV and AIDS in America. Retrieved from
http://www. avert. org/america. htm Davis C. et al (2007). HIV/AIDS knowledge and sexual activity: an examination of racial differences in a college sample. Retrieved from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_hb138/is_3_32/ai_n29434230/pg_4/? tag=content;col1 Duncan, C. et al (2004). Barriers to safer sex practices among African American college students. Journal of the national medical association, 94(11): 944-951 The Body (2010). How different is HIV/AIDS to Africa Americans. Retrieved from http://www. thebody. com/content/art46227. html