Posted on April 22, 2011

HIV Surges Among Young Tennesseans

Tom Wilemon, Tennessean, April 19, 2011

From a computer in the Metro Public Health Department headquarters, Brad Beasley surfs adult hookup sites.

He’s not looking for sex. He’s trying to save someone’s life.

The public health official searches for a screen name because that’s the only way many HIV-infected people can identify sex partners. Very often, the postings seek partners who agree not to use condoms.

“Behavior is back to where it was in 1980,” Beasley said.

Thirty years after the nation’s first reported cases of AIDS, Tennessee is seeing a surge of infections among its young people. Medical successes mean the fear factor isn’t what it used to be. But people having unprotected sex are spreading mutations of the HIV virus that resist life-prolonging drugs.


Men who have sex with men still make up the majority of new infections nationwide, 53 percent. Among them, black men between 13 and 29 had more new infections than any other group. With Hispanics, the most infections also occurred in this youngest age group. But among white men, the most new infections were found in those between 30 and 39.

The CDC has designated HIV a crisis in African-American communities. While blacks account for 14 percent of the population in the United States, they make up almost half of Americans living with the virus. In Tennessee, 645 black people were diagnosed with HIV in 2009, more than double the 300 white people newly diagnosed.

Black men on the “down low,” who keep secret about having sex with other men, and the higher incarceration rate for black men are factors for the spread of the disease among African-American women, said Alcendor and Sanders.

“There are certain things that happen in prison that men won’t talk about,” Alcendor said.

The HIV incidence rate for black women was nearly 15 times as high as that for white women and nearly four times as high as Hispanic women’s, according to a CDC report.


14 responses to “HIV Surges Among Young Tennesseans”

  1. Anonymous says:

    In Tennessee, 645 black people were diagnosed with HIV in 2009, more than double the 300 white people newly diagnosed.

    Tennessee is only 17% black, but 68% of their HIV infections are black. Africa in America, again…

  2. Question Diversity says:

    In related news, the city of Philadelphia wants to be able to mail condoms free of charge to city residents who are at least 11 years old. An 11-year old ordering condoms ought to invoke a DA/PD investigation for statutory rape, or even worse, pedophilia or incest. However, the DA’s office and the PD in Philly has many more irons in the fire, so it will not happen here in the real world.

  3. Old White Jim says:

    When I read Steinbeck’s “Canary Row” and “Sweet Tuesday” I didn’t realize they were comedies. Years later I saw the movie and realized my mistake.

    Am I making a similar, but inverted, mistake about this article?

    Is my chuckling and snorting inappropriate?

  4. Teacher says:

    QD: “In related news, the city of Philadelphia wants to be able to mail condoms free of charge to city residents who are at least 11 years old.”

    But not in Tennessee–Jesus rules here. Abstinence is acceptable. Condoms? Never!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anomymous#1 wrote ‘..68% of there infections are black..’.

    This is assuming that only blacks and whites in Tennessee were diagnosed as being hiv positive in 2009. The article

    may have left out other groups . Whites made up

    76.5 percent of the state population in 2009 , and blacks 16.8 percent (Quickfacts). Yes the infection rate for

    blacks is still high but not 68% given that it is likely that other groups were infected too in that year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    For nearly 30 years now the news has centered soley and entirely on ‘new cases’. In my local area (very recently), once, in 30 years, the news has covered the racial breakdown of ‘new/current AIDS deaths’. Over 600,000 Americans have died of AIDS, why do we never, ever, learn the race of those who’ve died.

    Those ding darn televangelists we made fun of must have been right. AIDS is different from every other disease.

  7. Jay says:

    I work in an inner city ghetto high school. Did you know that such schools give out condoms for free, AND give live demonstrations (using a rubber object) on how to use them, AND gives out fully illustrated literature and pamphlets to the ‘students’ regardless of age, AND shows them movies on how to use them?

    Last year, students in one class were asked to make posters raising awareness of the importance of using condoms, and I AM NOT JOKING, they made posters showing male private parts with condoms on them and happy faces. These were taped in the hallways and remained up for half the year. I hated going to work for that time period, and contemplated forwarding photos to the local media, but when I rememebered the liberal media around here, I said forget it.

    Even with all that info, the preggers rate around here is horrible.

  8. Bill R says:

    Teacher, no surprise, misses the point. The question to ask yourself is not why aren’t condoms freely distributed in Tennessee grade schools, but rather WHY ARE CONDOMS DISTRIBUTED TO 11 YEAR OLDS???? Who is “doing” the 11 year old? Why is it now acceptable for 11 year olds to even know about sex, let alone engage in it? But, of course, the teacher group is more concerned about spreading the liberal doctrine of relative morality, than stopping the spread of a killer disease, or the sexploitation of our youngest kids. Wake up. The disease isn’t spreading because of a lack of access to condoms. It’s spreading because the carriers and those who engage in the riskiest sex are refusing to use them. Once perversion and immorality are accepted to begin with, it’s no leap at all to also accept willingly and knowingly placing self-gratification over injecting a killer virus into the object used to satisfy the self involved urges of self involved amoral sex addicts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    4 — Teacher wrote at 11:21 PM on April 22:

    “But not in Tennessee—Jesus rules here. Abstinence is acceptable. Condoms? Never!!”

    I take it from your sarcasm that you approve of condoms being passed out to children? If this is a personal grudge against promoting abstinence just remember you have free will to do whatever you want. Why do you care what other people are doing unless you want to promote promiscuity? There is no religious group or law preventing you from buying condoms or having as much sex as you want to. Think about that and explore the reasons why you have an irrational hatred towards Christianity.

  10. Question Diversity says:

    8 Bill R:

    That’s the main reason why I oppose these free condom distribution programs — For ethical reasons, not religious reasons. (BTW, there is a theory that the word “ethics,” having roots in “e-” meaning “out of” or “away from” and “the” meaning God or religious faith, means in in the absence of God/religion, meaning ethics is the study of a moral code that does not depend on religious faith or dogma). Why should consequence-free sex be free of charge for the end user? What is so special about an 18-year old black man living in an urban environment (legal adult, mind you) still in high school that he doesn’t have to shell out the six bucks and change for a box of condoms, while this 34-year old white man (just as much of a legal adult) does? Not to mention vicariously through taxation, you and I pay for his condoms, too.

    If you don’t have six bucks and change, you ought not be having sex. Not my words, but the words of a black liberal St. Louis talk radio host.

    My other point is that pre-teens and teenagers that young (11-year olds in Philadelphia getting free condoms mailed to them, 13-year old “black men” (men?) who have had sex with other men in Tennessee getting HIV/AIDS), ought to start a stat rape investigation. Just what kind of man is having sex with a 13-year old black teenage young man in Tennessee? Probably way older than 13. Methinks pedophilia, definitely stat rape. Is an 11-year old girl in Philly asking for mail order condoms doing so in fear of incest?

    Sounds like a lot of police and prosecutors have a lot of work in front of them.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many of those white 300 were white women infected by Blacks. I bet quite a high proportion.

  12. Californian says:

    I work in an inner city ghetto high school. Did you know that such schools give out condoms for free, AND give live demonstrations (using a rubber object) on how to use them, AND gives out fully illustrated literature and pamphlets to the ‘students’ regardless of age, AND shows them movies on how to use them?

    Questions: How effective is all this? Is there a substantial number of STDs and pregnancies prevented? Or does this encourage more irresponsible behavior?

    What if the free condom program did not exist: would things be substantially worse?

  13. Georgia Resident says:

    Gotta love the title of the article, given that when people hear “Tennesseean”, they probably think of a white southerner, even though the majority of the cases are among blacks. Doubtless someone will cite this article claiming that it shows that poor whites are as irresponsible as blacks (and therefore, all black shortcomings are the result of poverty, not the cause), without bothering to read it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We feed our children obscenely (or is that obesely) high fat and protein diets, expose them relentlessly to sexual innuendo on the electronic baby sitter we call TV and Internet, and then expect no changes in their developmental patterns?

    What sheer hypocrisy.

    The ’10 is the new 15′ concept should be looked at with some seriousness as whites, especially males are hitting puberty 8-9 months earlier than they once did and females are having their first period in the 10-12 range instead of 12+ like it use to be.

    It’s better to teach a child to control their developing sexual interests than it is to turn it off completely. We are only having 1.84 kids per white woman in our society. Median first pregnancy age is rising perilously high among single white professionals of both genders. And the term ‘metro sexual’ began, not as a closeted gay phenomena but as a description for what once was called the ‘gay bachelor’ as someone who has _chosen_ to suppress their sex drives in return for the security of material possessions and a better start on a college/working life. A security that has become insular and introverted to the point where many don’t want to marry and make accomodations for a partner and children at all.

    Look what that’s brought us to. A world of white effeminate ostriches who would just as soon not notice our racial and political problems. As our supposed betters bring in high fertility non-whites to replace us in a consumerist state run by corporations, not pride.

    The best way to avoid AIDS is to be monogamous.

    Beyond that however; how a family chooses to deal with their child’s sexual development (and by implication any friend/partner’s) should their’s and their’s alone to choose. Involve the state and you involve a square peg for round hole approach of making the child’s development level fit the law and not the other way around.

    Much of what we take to be the consumate reason for not having sex too early is the virgin argument that sex is something you wait to sate the urge for so that both partners can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they are each other’s first. This derives from _medieval_ needs to secure the value of female chattel as a function of marriage contracts and dowries.

    It results in tragedy as sex becomes impulsive without preparation of forethought as to any number of STDs and pregnancy prevention issues.

    Given modern hygiene, women are not virgins after their first period and males have ‘those dreams’ as wildly imagined tweeners too.

    Control the rhythm. Set a pace. Lay down some expectations (grades, safety, privacy, consent, kindness) as maturity of behavior beforehand. _Normalize Normal Sex_. And stop making it a forbidden fruit ‘until you do something useful with your lives’. Because we are _losing_ the procreation war.