I Made A Mistake

I made a mistake in last week’s piece on the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). I believe good leadership is owning your mistakes and working to fix it. As you probably know, I am not an epidemiologist. However, NMAC will always follow the data and the science and the data I shared last week did not capture the impact that MAI has by race/ethnicity. Here is the corrected data that I received:

These data (from two CDC reports: Estimated HIV Incidence and Prevalence in the United States) show the disparity between African Americans and Latinx persons compared to White persons. While there is a slight decrease for African Americans and a slight increase among Latinx persons, the trend is essentially flat between 2010 and 2018.

Thank you to Eve Mokotoff, the Director of HIV Counts, for correcting the record.

There were also concerns about the amount of credit I took for NMAC’s role in the development of the MAI. To be clear and fair there were many leaders and organizations involved in the creation of the MAI. While NMAC played an important role, we were not the only ones. I did not mean to dishonor any person or institution.

I’ve been in Washington fighting HIV since the Reagan administration. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and will probably make more. Fighting HIV is a high wire act that is not for the faint of heart. Leaders who worry about making mistakes usually don’t take any risks. For NMAC, it’s not the mistake but the way it gets cleaned up or covered-up.

NMAC is focused on the Minority AIDS Initiative because we believe the Biden—Harris administration is committed to doing something important on race. After Black Lives Matter, there is a racial reckoning coming to America. It is not enough to point out racism. We are at a moment when the White House and Health and Human Services are looking for solutions. But we can only win by telling the truth and cleaning up mistakes

Yours in the struggle,
Paul KawataPaul Kawata