Right when we think that we as black people are turning the corner with our health, a study sets us back two steps — and this time, it’s disappointing that it’s our own doctors doing the damage.
According to a story on BET.com, a new study commissioned by Janssen Therapeutics and the National Medical Association, social stigmas are still the largest barriers keeping African-American frontline physicians from testing their patients for HIV and AIDS.
Blacks lead the nation in all new cases of HIV and AIDS, which makes this story really devastating, considering the multiple campaigns led by Viacom, BET’s parent company, for young blacks to receive screenings.
Not only do most blacks in every community understand the seriousness of the HIV epidemic in black communities, 93% of all black physicians surveyed agreed that there is a “very serious” “crisis,” which is amazingly far fewer than actually test blacks for the dis-ease.
According to BET:
Of the physicians interviewed for the study, only one-third of their patients had been tested for HIV in the past year, and not because the patients themselves were opposed to testing. Rather, many of the physicians were unwilling to recommended HIV testing because of social stigmas associated with the procedure.
Blacks are dying daily from this dis-ease, yet black physicians are hesitant because of taboos. That’s unacceptable!
The survey found that three of the top five barriers to routine testing cited by African-American physicians relate to social stigma. Specifically, physicians are concerned that patients may perceive the recommendation to test as accusatory or judgmental (57 percent); would not want to be identified as HIV positive and would worry about people finding out (48 percent); and would be offended due to the stigma associated with HIV (43 percent).
Basically, since black doctors don’t want to hurt the feelings of patients, they let potentially infected men and women walk around black communities thinking that they have a clean bill of health. This is distressing to know that the most trusted health officials are behaving like cut-throat insurers, who routinely deny or omit care to save money and increase profit margins.
Even though the doctors surveyed are not thinking about money when not offering their full service to patients, they are destroying the trust of their patients, who, according the survey, say they got tested only after the doctor recommended it to them.
The number-one killer of African-American women between the ages of 25 and 34 is AIDS.