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Out of Control: The AIDS Epidemic in Black America

Out of Control: The AIDS Epidemic in Black America
42:00 | 2006

Categories: Documentary, History, Health and Food

Out of Control was the first national network television documentary to examine how and why AIDS has become overwhelmingly a Black epidemic--not in Africa or the Third World, but right here in the United States.

Blacks make up 13% of the total US population, but over 50% of all new cases of HIV infection. That infection rate is eight times the rate of whites. Among women, the statistics are even more shocking: 70% of all new HIV infections are Black women, and a black woman is 23 times more likely than her white counterpart to be diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25-49, and has been for the last 11 years.

In interviews with AIDS activists, doctors, public health officials, and Black leaders, Out of Control revealed, for the first time, the political and social reasons AIDS spiraled into a crisis in Black communities across the country.

Among these was a lack of any consistent or ongoing effort to specifically address the Black epidemic by the Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations. And perhaps most importantly, the documentary examined a failure of mobilization and leadership in the Black community itself.

In examining these controversial and difficult topics, Out of Control included the last original reporting by Peter Jennings, just before his cancer diagnosis. Jennings, who played an important role in conceptualizing the program, interviewed a group of African American HIV-positive men in Atlanta who spoke with remarkable candor about the harsh realities of dealing with AIDS in Black America.

Until this broadcast, no major African-American leader or organization had taken on AIDS in Black America as a fighting cause. While many American Black leaders and celebrities had very visibly embraced the cause of AIDS in Africa, few devoted similar energy to the epidemic here at home. Interviews with Jesse Jackson and other Black leaders, especially in the Black Church, revealed the extent to which the AIDS crisis had been ignored.

In one notable instance, Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of America's most prominent African-American pastors, was interviewed about his own lack of leadership in the epidemic. After the broadcast, Jakes announced a new comprehensive national HIV/AIDS awareness program called "It's Time to Step Up," directed at faith communities, minorities, and women.

Out of Control: The AIDS Epidemic in Black America brought to national attention not only the shocking disparities in the epidemic in the US, but also confronted how we as a nation approach a major public health crisis that is centered primarily in a minority community. A preventable, treatable disease is killing thousands of Black Americans each year. But until this program, no one was paying attention.
 

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Kim Perkins
m********m
July 17, 2014
A-
Paul Starks
g********m
July 14, 2014
Very sad unfortunately.
Bridge
b********t
March 20, 2014
A
EVERY BLACK PERSON IN AMERICA NEEDS TO WATCH THIS EYE-OPENING VIDEO!!!!!!!
Aaron Cross
g********m
February 13, 2014
F
Biased and one sided. Contributing to black inferiority and defamation.
Jude
j********m
February 11, 2014
A
Needs to be seen in every high school in America.
Alan Hill
h********k
January 17, 2014
A-
Ramgopal Gurjar
r********m
December 12, 2013
D
Andrea Kalfoglou
a********m
September 9, 2013
A+
Roderick Anderson
1********g
April 7, 2012
evolution right in front of you and people still doubt darwin? pray tell, what will the results be in aboiut 100 years with nothing but immunes left in the wake of AIDS?
Terry Johnson
7********g
June 7, 2012
Lots of Darwin Awards to give out, huh?
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
I love how ABC turns a cultural and moral and spiritual problem into a hatchet-piece on Bush, the GOP, conservatives.
Wendy Williams
1********g
April 6, 2012
I think the only reason it appears to be more in blacks now is that whites do not tested I know more white women then black who have this problem. If you are the only person having sex with the guy (you believe) you do not get tested. In my circle there is only monogamous sex (husband and wife) AIDS doesn't show outward signs until a person has it for 11years. Are you going to test if you only had one "Plan B" encounter in 11 years? Good/church going girls/boys marry bad boys/girls and bad boys/girls may bring germs to the party. Are they going to tell? We did not ban or sue Canada because Aids in America can from their white party boy he didn't know better. Now with all the information out about it, I think if the sneaky party boy killed you (by giving you AIDS) he should go to jail for murder.
Don Iarussi
1********g
February 25, 2012
thank u democrats and public education for creating this problem.
Cynthia Slappy
c********m
February 21, 2012
This should be required viewing in every African-American church in America. And the church needs to do more than just say "Amen!"
Sam Oni
5********g
February 21, 2012
Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing this shocking and sobering video. I would add that in addition to the church, this should be compulsory viewing in every black home and every black classroom in the country.
Dave Wood
1********g
July 3, 2012
Not just in African American churches Cynthia.
Nicole Williams
1********g
December 16, 2011
It's NOT just a PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY PROBLEM when it's an EPIDEMIC in the US! And there's no affordable healthcare in this country...
Alex Stull
a********m
April 6, 2012
So now i should pay for your healthcare. Not gonna do it. Get a job. If you got one get a better one.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 8, 2012
Alex Stull The liberal storyline is that the government has to put everyone in a cradle and give them a bottle of formula. That's their "truth," but that's not what made our nation great.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 15, 2012
You know what preventitive medicine is? Don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, don't practice unhealthy "lifestyles", don't live a life of risk and don't dump your bad habits on some hardworking taxpayer who din't tell you to do any of those things. You reap what you sow.
Alex Stull
a********m
April 15, 2012
It is personal responsibility. And as far as the healthcare i don't remember asking you to breed.
Gary McLoughlin
1********g
July 22, 2012
Oh, you're wrong. Healthcare is now free, haven't you heard? Yes, Obama is giving away free healthcare to everyone - American citizen or not - and it won't cost you one thin dime in taxes or anything!
Don Swancy
1********g
August 2, 2012
it is ENTIRELY a personal responsibility problem. Affordable healthcare does not mean I'm fined or penalized to pay for anyone else's lack of character.
Hannah Dalton
6********g
December 14, 2011
sad the president didn't help pass a law for needles in prison to protect women outside of prison.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 8, 2012
Because the President does not need to. He should be working on jobs and the economy.
Larry Forsythe
1********g
November 25, 2011
Did these AIDS victims KNOW what they were dealing with? Education is certainly needed, but knowing doesn't always work DUH.
Anthony Ravenell
1********g
November 7, 2011
Watch "House Of Numbers" please! It will open your eyes to the truth about HIV/AIDS! Don't be fooled. Knowledge doesn't hurt. I love you all!
Gary McLoughlin
1********g
July 22, 2012
Request denied.
Anthony Ravenell
1********g
November 7, 2011
ay
Anthony Ravenell
1********g
October 30, 2011
Sadly, it starts with each individual looking at themselves and be honest with those who they are dealing with whether man or woman. It is not enough for anyone to spread this disease without telling the person they are dealing with that they are affected. If you cannot be honest then you are simply a coward!
Vernita Scott-Flanton
6********g
October 11, 2011
What seem to be the biggest reason that more protection is not used? Are there statistics for that?
Sue Rarick
1********g
October 7, 2011
The men and women who are contracting AIDS know about the disease yet continue to have unsafe sex because it feels better. While I have great sympathy for the victims, this is not a government problem but a personal responsibility problem.
Erin Barin
1********g
April 6, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny ty for the great response.
Alex Stull
a********m
April 6, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny You are completely wrong personal responsibility is the answer to most of our problems. It is not, never was, and never should be anyone's but our own problem. People need to stand up take responsibility for what we do and don't do. Ignorance is a problem but is not an excuse. My bad it is an excuse, just not a good one.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny You need to grow up and wake up. Sex can KILL YOU in this dangerous neighborhood otherise known as the Earth. Stop pretending that you're smarter than the rest of us who live by common sense.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
Alex Stull Don't try to change Yamilah Atallah Kenny. He does not think anyone ever reaches the age of accountability in their lives, no matter how old they are. To him, everyone is a victim and noone is ever to blame for whatever happens.
Sue Rarick
1********g
April 7, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny - We are coming up on the 30th anniversary of AIDS being recognised in the US. If after 30 years people aren't aware of the problems how long is it supposed to be till people are resposible for their own actions... 50 years ...100 years ... 1000 years. Or do some people just enjoy being labled as a victim.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
Sue Rarick it's just another cheap political ploy from the Democrats who want to procure votes from a particular demographic. They don't want to fix the problem, just pay enough lip service to it in order to look like they are actually busy. It's helped them stay in power so I suppose they think it's effective. But anyone with common sense can smell what they're shoveling.
Erin Barin
1********g
April 7, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny, scapegoating theory at its best!
Anthony Chapman
6********g
October 6, 2011
Nobody wants to touch this one but if we don't the statistics will continue to grow and that would be irresponsible. Obviously, the first thing to do is to reach out to those around you and implore them to practice safe sex. Then, do it again, and again... The message needs to be hammered home so you won't have any regrets that you haven't done your best. There's no reason that this statistic should be so shocking unless you've done everything that you can. Responsiblity starts at home first and don't leave that to others -- it our collective responsibility to ourselves and our love ones.
Ojeikere Ernest
1********g
October 3, 2011
these statistics are alarming. too sad that a combination of reagan, clinton and bush administration did nothing.
Burt Fisher
1********g
October 6, 2011
It's not like these people "fell into" someone who had AIDS. It was a conscious act, called sexual intercourse. The vector for this disease are well-known. If the victim ignores the best medical evidence, then nature will take its course. Reagan was not allowed to tell uppity fornicators and rapists and rappers how to conduct their lives. "With freedom comes responsibility."
Alex Stull
a********m
April 6, 2012
It is not the governments job.Government is not the answer it is the problem.
Don Rose
7********g
October 3, 2011
Government is not responsible for the choices and decisions made by individual Americans. Jesus Christ is the answer to AIDS! Individual responsibility and accountability in our lives through the help of God's Holy Spirit is the only means of protecting ourselves from the many diseases associated with sex and drug abuse. The government didn't create this problem and it's not the government's place to come up with an answer, especially when those who are truly responsible refuse to make good decisions and change their destructive behaviors.
Erin Barin
1********g
April 6, 2012
Thank you Jesus for infecting this young woman whose only mistake was trusting her husband. Thank you even more for enlightening us through Don Rose. I would argue that the government has contributed greatly to this problem by enacting laws that impose harsher sentences on African Americans than whites (like crack vs cocaine sentences) and result in our prisons being overrun with African Americans. White men have butt sex in prison too, they're just not represented in such large numbers. I would rather my tax dollars go to assuaging this community than a politician's salary.
Alex Stull
a********m
April 6, 2012
I do not need your Jesus Christ to take responsibility for myself, and neither should you or anyone. God is for the weak minded.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
Alex Stull read the Book of Job. You might find it mentally flossing.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
Erin Bolte Jesus did not infect anyone. Don't blame God for people's choices.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 8, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny Nothing is evil in itself, it's the motive behind the heart. And although you looked both ways before you crossed the street you could still be hit. Obviously not everyone who had AIDS got it through sex or drug use. (Arthur Ashe got HIV through a blood transfusion.) But through his lifestyle Magic Johnson DID contract it. And that's how it's passed from partner-to-partner in many cases, as well as through illicit drug use.Just because people have choices and make those choices does not mean that they will not reap the consequences of those choices. And the wrong choice of one person can impact many. A family, a wife, a child, a platoon or company. So people need to live their lives with discipline. It's not easy, but then anything that is substantial is ever done easily. Don't take life for granted, and don't think there will always be someone to save you when you don't. I'm dead serious.
Alex Stull
a********m
April 8, 2012
Arron Scott Cook I have not impressed
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 8, 2012
Alex Stull Complete the following: "the Book of Job has been called 'the greatest poem of ancient and modem times' by _______ ______ __________." So much for the educated ...
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 8, 2012
Alex Stull http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred,_Lord_Tennyson
Reginald Bracken
1********g
October 2, 2011
Of these figures are accurate, Aids is a bigger problem than I thought. The government or preachers should not have to address this problem in the black community. Good parenting is the way this problem gets under control.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
That's why it's important to have a mother and father in the home.
Arrtof Cook
5********g
April 7, 2012
Yamilah Atallah Kenny you can view my comments through whatever-colored glasses you want to. You can politicize them, spin them, make up stories about them, pretend they don't exist. I don't care. But you are not going to figure out how to cure sinners from sinning in a petri dish, in an incubator, under a microscope and in a hospital. You can't throw money at a problem and expect it to go away. You can't legislate morality, and you can't make a father stay faithful to his wife and family. You cannot save yourself from death - or even get back youth that has slipped from you forever. People are going to do drugs or have sex because of the depravity of life and scientists have no answers for that. The government has no answer for that. You reap what you sow. As soon as you realize that you will get closer to realizing that you did not Create yourself, and you much higher Purpose Driven Life than what was taught to you in the classroom.
Francine Bailey Tony Hooks
1********g
October 2, 2011
Sad right here in the United States among women, the statistics are even more shocking: 70% of all new HIV infections are Black women, and a black woman is 23 times more likely than her white counterpart to be diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25-49, and has been for the last 11 years.
Nick Bolovinos
1********g
July 7, 2012
Well, its too bad ABC has the facts wrong, most HIV infectons are from gay and bisexual males. http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/
Vincent Gales
1********g
July 8, 2012
Nick Bolovinos The stat above is about women and it is correct. The racial disparity is real and must be addressed at many levels. It starts with the individual but there are other factors that must be addressed. Access to health care is a huge problem and not knowing your HIV status. HIV screening should be a routine part of health care for everyone.
Nick Bolovinos
1********g
July 8, 2012
Vincent Gales - No, it is not correct, its wrong. Im sorry you dont want to believe the official statistics, and I even posted a link. Just because the idiot propagandists at ABC spew something doesnt make it a fact. The link I gave is the direct link to the CDC statistics, from the government. Most new HIV infections come from males. Period. Black women are only 15x more likely to get HIV over whites, not 23x as the above article claims....and only about 3x more than hispanic women. Black women get HIV at a rate of about 40 per 100,000...while white women get it at 2.6 per 100,000. While that is a disparity percent wise, white women outnumber black women 63-13...about 5 times....so there are actually 13 cases to 40 cases, with hispanic women accounting for 12....so black women are 40 out of 65, which is about 61%. Still a large amount of all cases, but again, proving that ABC is just making up statistics. And again, thats just 61% of WOMEN contacting HIV. As a percent of overall HIV infections, black women make up about 16% of all HIV infections. Hardly the fear mongering ABC is claiming. White and hispanic males contract HIV more often than black males if you do the math...120 out of 224 cases, which is 53% of all cases. The way I see it, and as many others have mentioned... its a personal responsibility issue. I dont care if you are white, black or hispanic...unless you got AIDS from a blood transfusion or while helping people with AIDS and you cut yourself and contracted HIV/AIDS.... which is less than 1% of all cases....personal responsibility had everything to do with it. Yes, it sucks... but its a fact. Not trying to be cold hearted, I hope they do find a cure for HIV/AIDS... but we cant be going arouind making it a black and white issue... its a human issue, and Im tired of ABC and other left wing Liberal media outlets always making shit about race. Asking VP Candidates what they know about individual race statistics of HIV is pathetic and disingenuous. Its actually racist.
Vincent Gales
1********g
July 8, 2012
Nick-You are using 2006-2009 data and the story aired in 2006. It is not fear mongering when you use the facts to make people aware of an issue. You must use the rate of disease and not total cases for a true comparison. When the HIV infection rate of black men is 6 times that of white men and the HIV infection rate of black women is 15 times that of white women, the disparity is alarming and needs to be addressed. I will continue to work in decreasing the rate of new HIV infections. The first step in problem solving is to identify the problem and ABC helped to do this with this story. You are also helping by posting the link and having this discussion. In public health, data is reported by age, sex, race and ethnicity. This helps to identify problems with a specific group in order to develop targeted interventions.
Gene Guarisco
1********g
July 20, 2012
Sorry Vincent, but even more access to healthcare isn't going stop this. Once you contact the disease, the horse is out of the barn.