Black Americans Urged to Adopt 'Conservative Lifestyle'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - With the release of new government figures showing that African-Americans are the "most severely impacted" community when it comes to HIV/AIDS, members of the black leadership network Project 21 are once again calling on black Americans to be more conscious of their behavior as a way to decrease their risk of contracting the deadly disease.

"AIDS activists would have us believe that catching HIV can happen to anybody at any time. This is only true if we carelessly opt to have promiscuous, unprotected and random sex with multiple partners or choose to make illegal drugs part of our life," said Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch.

"The myth that anyone might be spontaneously infected with AIDS outside their own volition is systematically impossible."

Fritsch said the best way to prevent HIV and AIDS infections are to exercise free will and personal choice: "AIDS is completely preventable in our community through our decision to be responsible with our bodies and our minds," she said in a press release.

Statistics released by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta on June 13 showed that 47 percent of the more than one million HIV-positive Americans are black.

Project 21 called it a "startling figure," since blacks comprise only 13 percent of the overall U.S. population.

Sixty-seven percent of the HIV-positive black men surveyed didn't know they were infected prior to testing.

Previous government studies found black women comprised 71.8 percent of new HIV cases between 1999 and 2002 and are 23 times more likely to contract AIDS than their white counterparts.

According to Project 21, government AIDS prevention programs focus on testing and counseling people who already are infected. AIDS activists complain this reduces funding for condoms and safe-sex education.

"Neither approach, however, addresses preventative measures such as abstinence and eschewing risky lifestyle choices," Project 21 said in a statement.

In a commentary published last year, Project 21 member Malcolm Moore wrote, "There are certain liberal behaviors that make it more likely one will be at risk of contracting AIDS. To the contrary, acting more conservative is more suitable to AIDS prevention."

Moore wrote that abstinence from pre-marital sex, respect for marriage, and rejecting the use of illicit drugs dramatically decreases the chance of contracting AIDS.

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