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News Release


UAlbany Leads Coalition to Fight AIDS

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 30, 2003) -- The University at Albany has formed a community coalition to combat AIDS and HIV in the black community, diseases that disproportionately affect blacks in Albany and throughout the United States.

Capitalize on Community represents a multidisciplinary alliance among the University at Albany, community-based organizations, and the black church. Partners, including the Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center, St. John's Community Development Corporation, and the Capital District African-American Coalition on AIDS, will provide collective support around AIDS prevention in the black community, including raising funds for future research.

"Institutions in the black community," said UAlbany Sociology Associate Professor Hayward Derrick Horton, who founded the coalition, "such as the black church and voluntary organizations, are significant because they provide social support and are central to the formulation and maintenance of social relationships for blacks in America. The association between strong social relationships and good health is well established. We know this coalition will provide such a strong center for the black community in Albany."

The face of HIV/AIDS in Albany is disproportionately black. While blacks represent 28 percent of the city’s total population, more than 40 percent of city residents age 25 to 29 living with AIDS are black. Half of the city's AIDS cases between the ages of 30 and 39 are black. Nearly 60 percent of those between the ages of 40 and 49 with AIDS are black, and blacks represent half of the city's residents with AIDS between the ages of 50 and 59. Although blacks make up a little more than a quarter of Albany’s population, they represent more than half of all the AIDS cases as of June 2000 (Surveillance Report, NYS Department of Health, June 2000).

AIDS also has disproportionately affected African Americans throughout the United States. In 1998, African Americans made up 13 percent of the population but represented 45 percent of the reported AIDS cases (CDC, 2000). In that same year, AIDS was the leading cause of death of African American men 25 to 44 years of age. The Centers for Disease Control also reported that African American men who have sex with men comprise 38 percent of the AIDS cases (Center for Disease Control, 2000).

Capitalize on Community was founded on the belief that HIV/AIDS in the city of Albany will continue to be disproportionately black without interventions involving the black community. Initially, the coalition will assemble a broad spectrum of focus groups, including persons with HIV/AIDS, those who are gay or bisexual, community leaders, and religious leaders, for discussion and analysis of data.

Hayward Derrick Horton, the coalition's principal investigator, is immediate past president of the Association of Black Sociologists, a former chair of the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities (SREM) of the American Sociological Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeastern New York AIDS Council. He is also the director of the University at Albany’s Critical Demography Project.

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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