Forty years on, Black Americans disproportionately hit by HIV

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Washington (AFP) – Dedra Spears Johnson was working as a social worker in a suburb of the US capital Washington at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990s, when she concluded Black women’s needs weren’t being met by efforts to fight the disease. Highly effective medications had recently been approved, but the people around her were hitting economic barriers and cultural taboos that prevented access. “There’s a shame about feeling they have this dirty disease,” Spears Johnson — who in 1999 co-founded a nonprofit group called Heart to Hand Inc to broaden access to testing, treatments a…

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