In the studies quoted herein the numbers show evidence that blacks suffer a much higher rate of incidence than do whites or Latinos, and that black women suffer a much higher rate when compared against their white counterparts and they are a significant percentage of the overall rate of incidence in both Baltimore and the United States. There is not much potential in numbers for a bias, after all, they are what they are. The number of incidences reported can only be interpreted as being either a person of African-American descent, white heritage or Latino in nature. With numbers there can hardly be any quibbling back and forth, especially when the numbers are as lopsided as they are in this paper.
The answer to the question of whether culture affects the incidence of AIDS/HIV infection seems to be numerically clear, in that the statistics show that in Baltimore and across the nation the African-American community is being infected at a much higher rate than the Latino or white community is. The question then remains as to what the solution might be. One study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine states that "in the effort to reduce infection rates, it is important to create and evaluate behavioral interventions that are specific to the target populations" (Shain, Piper, Newton, Perdue, Reyes, Champion, Guerra, 1999, p. 93).
The studies included in this paper all seem to point to the African-American culture as one that does little to inhibit the young African-American male or female from risky sexual behavior. One of the solutions might be to study the question of why this community is affected by a much higher degree of HIV / AIDS incidences than its counterparts. It would seem likely that the African-American youth engages in sexual conduct that can lead to higher incidence but the specific acts or the specific culture that allows such actions is not sufficiently explored in the current literature to enlighten educators and other interested parties. Though the studies provide lamentable numbers and statistics they do not cover the qualitative thinking or ideas behind the numbers. The Shain et al. study showed that "a culturally relevant behavioral intervention grounded in theory can reduce the frequency of gonorrhea and chlamydial infections for at least 12 months in minority women at high risk (p. 94) and that such intervention would probably work as well regarding HIV / AIDS infections as well.
One possible answer to the reason why the AIDS/HIV virus is so prevalent is that many of the young African-American youth have multiple sex partners and there is a general gender imbalance in the black community. The Ferguson et al. study showed that many black female students "identified men having multiple female sex partners as a key consequence of the gender ratio imbalance" (p. 323). Addressing this problem with quantitative research as was done in this paper is all well and good, but the solution to the problem begs for a qualitative approach. The data shows that the problem is significant and it is likely that the solution to the problem could be via interventions. The problem that this paper encountered was that the data provided evidence of the problem but provided little in the way of answers. Therefore, further studies on the effectiveness of addressing culturally-based events or behavior would likely be highly contributive to the literature on the subject. Such a study may also be beneficial in providing incentive for others to research the same subject from various viewpoints that may provide even more enlightenment for the education of the black community that is affected so adversely by these events.
Brown, G. (2003) HIV / AIDS among African-Americans and U.S. women: Minority and young women, Minority Nurse Newsletter, Fall Issue 2003
Elder, M.C. (1999) AIDS conference addresses African-American AIDS epidemic, New York Amsterdam News, Vol. 90, Issue 36
Ferguson, Y.O.; Quinn, S.C.; Eng, E.; Sandelowski, M.; (2006) the gender ratio imbalance and its relationship to risk of HIV / AIDS among African-American women at historically black colleges and universities, AIDS Care, Vol. 18, Issue, 4, pp. 323-331
More women infected by AIDS virus (1994) Futurist, Vol. 28, Issue 2, p. 62