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D.C.’s HIV blame game

Two D.C. bloggers are battling it out over the new HIV number released for Washington, D.C. Three percent of the total population there is now living with HIV.

Black Informant says the cause is risky sexual behavior among the gay and lesbian community. The Washington City Paper‘s Sexist blogger says the cause is more complex than that, pushed upward by increasing rates of new infections among heterosexuals.

I wonder how Black Informant would feel if someone took these numbers and twisted them to say African-Americans were to blame:

And continuing a grim trend from the 2007 report, African Americans are bearing the brunt of this epidemic: 4.3 percent of African Americans in the District are living with HIV/AIDS; 6.5 percent of black men in the city have the disease, and African Americans account for 76 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in the District.

This HIV blame game is stupid and dangerous. It is the reason why the federal government ignored the crisis for so long in the 1980s. Anyone can find a number or statistic, put it in bold text, twist it and use it to attack a minority or community. But that’s not being brave, as Black Informant suggests. Being brave would mean actually doing something to end the crisis, not increase paranoia and prejudice.

While Black Informant is busy trying to find a scapegoat, people are getting infected and infecting others. His energy would be better spent finding a way to end the crisis.