Florida Public Health Review


Publication Date

April 2009


Within the last decade African American women have experienced serious increases in HIV diagnoses. Almost 40% of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are black women. Furthermore, black women are 23 times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS than white women. This paper explores some of the underlying socioeconomic factors for high incidence rates of HIV among African American women—including poverty, racism, and stigma—that contribute to this health disparity and discusses current leadership approaches to addressing this problem. One common leadership approach focuses on adapting CDC intervention programs at a local level, a process that presents significant challenges. This paper concludes with a discussion of approaches and leadership theories from thinkers in public health, anthropology, business, counseling, and psychology. These models supported by ethnographic interviews with HIV workers from the city of Tampa allow insight into the strengths of leadership at local, regional, and national levels and ultimately suggest that a holistic and interdisciplinary focus is necessary to address these structural inequalities.