Providence Journal-Bulletin (10.28.11) - Wednesday, November
Too many Rhode Islanders are becoming infected with STDs
including HIV - a trend that schools can help reverse by
offering condoms and improving sex education, state first lady
Stephanie Chafee said on Oct. 27.
Chafee gave the opening remarks at a three-hour forum in
Woonsocket sponsored by AIDS Project Rhode Island and other
organizations. Chafee was one of the state's first registered
nurses to work with AIDS patients and researchers during the
1980s. In addition to enhancing sex education and making
condoms available, Chafee said prevention efforts should
target high-risk populations, including gay men and minority
Keynote speaker Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, an infectious-disease
specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted the
disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS is having on the black
community. A variety of factors are driving higher rates among
minorities, she said, including:
*Young people's willingness to take risks;
*High infection rates among black and Hispanic men in prison,
where drug use and tattooing increase transmission risk; and
*High overall HIV incidence among illegal immigrants who are
black and Hispanic.
Ojikutu said no one factor alone explains the disparity, but
that all are part of the problem.