In the past, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s most lauded civil rights organization, made few bold-faced efforts to fight HIV, even though more than half of new American infections occur among black people. In July, however, NAACP chairman Julian Bond and president Bruce Gordon opened the group’s annual convention by urging dedication to the AIDS fight. The duo was then tested nearby. “We focus on discrimination, and it is now clear the [black HIV infection rate] originates in poverty, incarceration, poor health care,” says Bond. Board member Willis Edwards says, “There was a lack of [AIDS] education at the NAACP, and we were too conservative to discuss sex. But everyone must know the risk and get tested.”
Race for a Cure?
The NAACP makes AIDS a civil rights issue