Summit to tackle African-American HIV/STD crisis

Black state board of education leaders from across the nation will meet to strategize about ways in which public schools can help address the HIV and STD crises among African-Americans and to highlight the clear link between risky sexual behaviors and academic performance on May 28-30, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The conference is being hosted by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is being held at the CDC's Thomas R. Harkin Global Communication Center. The meeting represents the largest exclusive gathering of African-American state education leaders in the country's history.

The impact of HIV/AIDS among African-Americans is staggering, and the racial disparities in HIV infections among young people are particularly severe. Though African-Americans only make up approximately 13% of the U.S. population, a recent CDC multi-year analysis found that blacks made up half (51%) of all new HIV cases. Among youth aged 13-24, blacks account for 61 percent of HIV infections.

Key Speakers and Conference Highlights:

  • Brenda Welburn, NASBE Executive Director
  • Karabelle Pizzigati, NASBE President and Maryland State Board of Education member
  • Dr. Howell Wechsler, Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health, CDC
  • Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC
  • Dr. Stuart Berman, Chief, Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, CDC
  • Dr. Lisa Romero, Health Scientist, Division of Adolescent and School Health, CDC
  • Greg Millett, Behavioral Scientist, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Intervention Research and Support, CDC

A student panel will speak about their personal experiences living with HIV and/or the impact of a family member with HIV.

State education leaders will be briefed on the current trends in sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, review effective state HIV education policies, and prepare action plans for their own states to confront the health and academic impacts of HIV and other STDs on students and the larger African-American community.

Reporters wishing to cover the conference or interview speakers or attendees should contact David Griffith at 703/740-4824 to make arrangements.

NASBE, www.nasbe.org, represents America's state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education.

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