Mar 7, 2006    #045
Contact: Gerald Palmer, School of Nursing research associate
(816) 235-6352

Talk show tackles HIV/AIDS topics on urban Gospel radio station

A new Kansas City radio talk show devoted to the topic of HIV/AIDS is now airing weekly on the AM dial. Its target audience: African Americans.

Did you know that African Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they constitute half of those diagnosed with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new radio show exists to give Kansas City’s African American community a forum to talk candidly about the disease that so disproportionately affects them.

There is only one other weekly radio show in the U.S. that focuses solely on HIV/AIDS in the African American community. It airs out of Miami, Florida.

Kansas City’s show is called "A Closer Look" and it airs every Friday at 3:15 p.m. on KGGN Gospel 890 AM.

Its purpose is to educate the black community and to help recruit people of color to the HIV field.

About 30 shows have aired so far, and, “It’s working,” said Gerald Palmer, host of "A Closer Look" and research associate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Nursing.

Not only has Palmer received comments from people at his church and on the street, health care professionals, have been requesting to be on-air guests.

Palmer is a minister and he has a degree in social work. His passion for HIV/AIDS grew out of an experience he had five years ago when he worked as an HIV case manager. He was visiting a patient who was in the intensive care unit. Doctors were getting ready to disconnect his life support.

“There was no family or church members around for his last hours,” Palmer recalled.

When he witnessed the patient die, he told himself he would make sure other people with HIV/AIDS did not die alone.

Palmer chose a Gospel station as his format for getting messages out about HIV because he knows that the best way to reach the black community is through the church; and the best way to reach the church is through Gospel music.

The half hour live show features HIV experts as well as people living with AIDS. Discussion topics have included youth and HIV, social stigmas on the disease, the churches response to the epidemic, etc.

While Palmer's radio show has proven successful since its August debut, challenges exist.

“Especially on a Gospel station because sometimes you’re talking about sex and condoms,” he said.

Another challenge is people hesitating to call the show because of the stigma that still exists for HIV.

Funding for the radio show comes from a grant by the Midwest AIDS Training & Education Center of Missouri, which is located in the UMKC School of Nursing. Funding will allow the show to air through October. Palmer hopes to find more funding to keep the show alive.

Did You Know

• During 2001–2004, the rate of HIV/AIDS diagnoses for African Americans decreased, although the rate for African Americans was still the highest rate for all racial and ethnic groups.

• The primary mode of HIV transmission among African American men was sexual contact with other men, followed by heterosexual contact and injection drug use.

• The primary mode of HIV transmission among African American women was heterosexual contact, followed by injection drug use.

• Of the estimated 145 infants perinatally infected with HIV, 105 (73%) were African American.


The UMKC School of Nursing offers a wide range of clinical experiences, research and specialty opportunities. Affiliated clinical facilities include Truman Medical Center, Children's Mercy Hospital and nearly 100 community-wide facilities in the Kansas City metro area.

UMKC is one of four University of Missouri campuses. It is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences and urban affairs.



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