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June 15, 2007

Activists Call Prez's AIDS Council Comments Racist

Several HIV/AIDS organizations—including the Campaign to End AIDS, the National Minority AIDS Council and the National Association of People With AIDS—are calling on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) to formally denounce racially insensitive comments that were made by PACHA members at the group’s 33rd annual meeting on Tuesday. When speaking about the disproportionate rates of incarceration of black men, one doctor said that there are “more blacks in jail because they commit more crimes”; other members debated the significance of education, poverty, access to care and racism on rising HIV infections and AIDS deaths. Housing Works National Field Organizer Larry Bryant said in a public statement that he is “dismayed and disappointed” by the comments. In addition to calling on PACHA to condemn the remarks, activists are asking PACHA to take steps to increase the diversity of the councils’ members in order to accurately represent the diverse face of the AIDS epidemic.

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