FIGURE 4.1 Needle exchange support in the state of Maryland and Baltimore city.

SOURCE: Center for Substance Abuse Research (1994).

Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama—Thomas and Quinn (1993) found that only one in five persons trusts government reports on AIDS and that two-thirds consider the possibility that AIDS is a form of genocide. The study also found that 38 percent of African American college students in Washington, D.C., believe ''there is some truth in reports that the AIDS virus was produced in a germ warfare laboratory"; another 26 percent said they were "unsure." Major journals focusing on issues of concern to African Americans, for example, Essence (Bates, 1990), have given wide attention, and therefore some degree of sanction, to these beliefs. Although these results cannot be generalized to all African Americans, they are a disturbing revelation to many who are attempting to conduct HIV and AIDS health promotion and disease prevention activities within these communities.

Proponents of genocidal theories also argue that it is not by chance that alcohol and drug abuse plague African American communities. It is pointed out that retail outlets for the sale of alcohol are controlled by government policy. The Reverend Graylan Ellis-Hagler of Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington, D.C., sounds a common theme heard in this community (Ellis-Hagler, 1993, as cited in Thomas and Quinn, 1994):

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