Thug Life and HIV/AIDS
I recent read the article "The drugs, imprisonment, and HIV/AIDS connection" by Nekima Levy-Pounds in the "Insight" community journal. She talks about how the war on drugs has resulted in disproportionate numbers of blacks being incarcerated. She cites this high rate of incarceration as being a major contributing factor to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the black community. In prison, men sometimes have both voluntary and involuntary sexual interactions with one another. Since they are not provided with condoms in prison, the risk for the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STD's is very high. When the men eventually are released from prison, they return to their families and loved ones, possibly spreading any infections that they may have picked up while in prison.
I found Levy-Pounds' article to be really provocative and insightful. She makes an important connection between the high rates of incarceration in the black community and the incidence of HIV/AIDS. I had heard before how the war on drugs has resulted in disproportionate numbers of blacks being imprisoned, thereby furthering poverty among African Americans. As my fellow soldier Tupac Shakur once stated, "Instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs, so the police can bother me." The war on drugs, rather than helping impoverished communities, is instead exacerbating the vicious cycle of poverty and drug abuse. Levy-Pounds brings up another negative consequence of the war on drugs with the HIV/AIDS connection. We can see that the war on drugs is an example of institutional racism. There is no race specific language in any of the laws, but we can see that the war on drugs has disproportionately had a negative effect on the black community. Even though discrimination is supposed to be illegal, we do not live in a colorblind society where everyone has equal life chances. We must be aware of these injustices and fight the good fight for equality. Freedom fighters unite!
to once again borrow the words of brother shakur:
"a coward dies a thousand deaths... a soldier dies but once"