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Many minorities
still hold HIV conspiracy beliefs

Many minorities
still hold HIV conspiracy beliefs

More than one quarter of blacks believe HIV was designed to kill minorities and that a cure exists.

A surprisingly high number of African-Americans and Latinos living in Texas still hold conspiracy beliefs about HIV, chiefly that the virus was specifically designed by government officials to kill minorities and that a cure for AIDS exists but is being kept secret, Reuters Health reports. Reporting in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers said that of 441 African-American Texans surveyed, 27.3% of black men and 31.2% of black women believe HIV was designed to kill minorities; of 456 Latinos surveyed, 21.4% of men and 23.8% of women believe in AIDS genocide theories. There was no association between education level and belief in the conspiracy theory, according to the study.

Holding such beliefs likely leads to lower rates of safer sex among minorities, particularly the use of condoms for high-risk sex acts, said the researchers. "If people think that HIV is caused by an external locus of control, then they will not think that infection is caused by personal behaviors," study coauthor E. James Essien told Reuters Health. "They believe their own actions do not matter."

Essien called for "educational intervention programs developed in a culturally sensitive manner, directly relevant to things that are happening in the particular culture." (The Advocate)

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