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Scary statistics, another forgotten killer

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Scary Statistics

Thanks for being unafraid to bring these issues to light (cover story, "The forgotten killer," March 22). I must tell you about a very frightening conversation I had with a black man shortly after reading the statistic that nearly two-thirds of individuals in Georgia with HIV/AIDS are black. I shared the stat with a few people close to me, all of whom are black, and an older gentleman began his case against it. He stated that it was all a myth, that he would never get AIDS because he "ain't f-ing," that he's never been to a doctor and never will go because he's never been sick. He said that he fights illness by being in tune with God's natural foods (plums and such) that will keep him healthy. He stated that AIDS is just another weapon used against the black man and he'd never get it. He went on for a while. I listened at first. Well, we all listened at first and tuned him out after a while. I couldn't help but think how many black men in Atlanta share his views, that they're absolutely invincible and will never catch a cold, let alone HIV or AIDS. How many of them who now lead this spiritual lifestyle were once in the streets, or living a promiscuous life and are now endangering the women they love? How many black men in Atlanta feel that plums are the cure for an infectious disease?

I was so sad after hearing him speak. I really hope that we all wise up to what is really going on and stop being blinded by ignorance and spirituality and learn to protect ourselves, even from those we love. Thanks again.

Kimberly S. Cooper, Union City

Another Forgotten Killer

In response to "The forgotten killer" (cover story, March 22), I must thank CL and Ms. Abkowitz for bringing attention to a pandemic that claims 3 million lives every year. Seeing as World Tuberculosis Day just passed March 24 with Atlanta's first TB Awareness Walk, though, I'd point out that TB is the biggest killer of people with HIV. TB still claims 1.6 million annually, and 2 billion people around the world have TB. Also, with such a horrible pandemic as AIDS being spread through sex and needles, I'd also note that a new strain of TB called extensively drug resistant, or XDR-TB, is on the loose, which, if allowed, could be much worse than AIDS itself for it is spread by breathing, and has already come to America. As many have said, we cannot stop AIDS or this new strain, XDR-TB, dubbed "AIDS with wings," unless we stop all occurrences of standard TB itself. It currently costs about $16 to treat regular TB, but much more to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB, and it's virtually impossible to treat XDR-TB. If we want to prevent a new pandemic like AIDS, we must encourage Congress to invest now before it gets much worse.

Misty Novitch, Dunwoody

Ethnic Cleansing, Ethnic Schmensing

Elliot Jaspin and John Sugg are racial demagogues who hate the white race, especially Southerners. What happened in Forsyth County in 1912 (cover story, "Why the AJC doesn't want you to read this book," March 8) has absolutely no relevance to the Georgia of today any more than slavery, the necessary suppression of the American Indians, or the Romans feeding the Christians to the lions does. Sugg continues to dredge up past racial evils and present them like they happened today. He does this to incite the racial feelings of his readers. What is past is past. At some point we have to put these events behind us, otherwise we will wallow in the past. Then there is the Biblical injunction to forgive 70 times 7 every day.

What happened in Forsyth County almost a century ago was not ethnic cleansing. It was a relatively small, short, local spasm of violence. Ethnic cleansing is a sustained, widespread, organized campaign of genocide. In no way can what happened in Forsyth County in 1912 be compared with what the Serbs did in Europe. It is the politically correct hatred of the white race, especially Southerners, by Sugg and Jaspin that is driving whites to join white groups that will stand up for the white race. White people are human, too.

Keith Watkins, Atlanta

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