[Congressional Record Volume 147, Number 17 (Wednesday, February 7, 2001)]
[Pages H207-H208]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, as we reconvene the Congress, as 
we begin to deal with the various issues which affect our Nation and 
our country and our world, I thought I would take some time this 
morning to highlight one of those; and it has to do with the continuing 
escalation of HIV and AIDS.
  As a matter of fact, I was looking at a report that suggests that, in 
the first detailed study to target some of the AIDS epidemic's 
overlooked victims, researchers in Chicago reported Monday that fully 
30 percent of young gay African-American men are infected with HIV.
  The infection rate for gay blacks was twice that of any other ethnic 
group, a finding that shocked some experts despite the already well-
documented racial gap in AIDS cases.
  ``This is a disturbing and frightening number, and something should 
be done about it,'' said Linda Valleroy, an epidemiologist at the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the six-city survey 
of gay men in their twenties. The results were outlined Monday at the 
8th Annual Retrovirus Conference being held in Chicago this week.
  The new figures reflect a troubling reality for gay black men who may 
not have enough income to live in the largely white gay enclaves where 
AIDS health centers are located. Such problems are amplified, gay 
advocates say, by lingering rifts over homosexuality within the 
African-American community itself.
  For example, and I quote, ``I am an African-American gay man living 
with HIV. In some people's eyes, I'm damned several times over,'' said 
Frank Oldham, Jr., who is the assistant commissioner of AIDS public 
policy at the Chicago Department of Health.
  Previous AIDS surveys tended to focus on members of the white 
population, Valleroy said, in part because the researchers sampled gay 
neighborhoods where relatively few blacks live, men who frequented gay 
bars, clubs, restaurants and coffee houses.
  Valleroy's team succeed in recruiting 408 gay black men for the 
survey, about 17 percent of the total. Moreover, no

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previous study had looked at the infection rate among gays in this age 
group, which included men, ages 23 to 29.
  The findings suggest that gay men of all races are engaging in risky 
behavior. Nearly half of the men interviewed had unprotected anal sex 
during the previous 6 months. Even those who are not infected are in 
danger of becoming infected.
  I think what this report suggests, Mr. Speaker, is that, 
notwithstanding whatever the resources are that have heretofore been 
made available, that there is a tremendous need.
  I would urge President Bush, as he prepares his budget for the coming 
year, to make absolutely certain that there are ample provisions for 
the prevention, detection, and treatment of the AIDS-HIV virus.