The University of California, Los Angeles, is making a public call for more African-American AIDS researchers. In an article published in the American Journal of Public Health, experts outlined the shortage and made recommendations to remedy it. HIV disproportionately affects African-Americans, who make up just 13% of the U.S. population but account for about half of newly diagnosed HIV cases nationwide each year.
UCLA researchers said African-American college students don't receive research training early enough in their careers, and some department chairs advise that in many cases it is simply too late for many doctoral students to flip into research careers. The shortage is worsened by another scarcity -- senior African-American mentors to encourage the next generation.
Lead study author Gail Wyatt, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said, 'The most effective behavior-change policies allow for individuals to be part of the solution and not the problem.'
The authors added, 'HIV research conducted by highly trained African-Americans should be the norm and not the exception.'