The “triple whammy” of being African American, being HIV-positive, and having a mental disorder presents a complex knot of challenges to both individuals and their communities. The historical issues of racism, discrimination, and related economic disadvantages (inadequate income, limited employment prospects and homelessness) mean that African Americans are more vulnerable to situations in which mental disorders can develop and HIV infection can be transmitted. These include:

  • Lack of access to the educational programs that can reduce HIV transmission
  • Life stressors that can be conducive to the development of serious mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia)
  • Limited access to medical services and mental health services that can both reduce vulnerabilities to HIV infection and mental disorders and can provide treatment for them when do develop

Nevertheless, current and emerging resources can contribute many of the tools needed to begin to untangle this complex knot, and some of those tools will be discussed in Module 4 of the present curriculum.




Howard University College of Medicine AIDS Education and Training Center - National Multicultural Center