The purpose of this paper is to examine the literature on the biological effects of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in minority populations. For the purposes of this review, AIDS shall be generally defined as immunosuppression occurring as a result of contraction of the "HIV" virus' attack on white blood cells (T-lymphocytes) in the human blood (Slaff, & Brubaker, 1985).
In order to understand the biological impact of AIDS on minority populations, it is necessary to understand a bit of the sociopolitical realities that demarcate minority groups from the dominant cultural group in America. In particular, it is important to note that minorities tend to be economically and educationally disadvantaged populations. These depressing realities are consequent in a higher prevalence of some at-risk
behaviors for minority groups (Masen, Nobel, Lindsey, Kolbe, BanNess, Bowen, Drotman, & Rosenberg, 1988, pp. 261-328). High risk behaviors, according to Mason and associates include such behaviors as illicit intravenous drug use, prostitution, multiple sex partners, contraction of STD, and use of immunosuppressant drugs.
Intravenous drug use, prostitution (and therefore the likelihood of contraction of sexually transmitted disease) and other forms of drug use such as the use of immunosuppressant drugs tend to be engaged in by great numbers of urban minorities. For example, the contraction of AIDS through the sharing of needles and syringes, a process wherein there is a mutual exchange of bodily fluids, is a serious problem for minority groups. In this regard, Schuster (1988, p. 261) notes that:
Blacks and Hispanics are overrepresented among heterosexual IV drug users with AIDS. Blacks account for 12 percent of the U.S. population and 51 percent of the heterosexual IV drug users with AIDS. While 6 percent of the population are Hispanic, they are 30 percent of the heterosexual IV drug users with AIDS.
The plight o...