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Study Shows More Men With HIV Are Living In The Southern States

Studies being done on issues that affect the population are quite intriguing to EarHustle411 and the writing staff.  This lastest study shows that more men living with H.I.V.  and AIDS are living in the South.  Unfortunately numbers are staggering however it’s the reasoning behind the somewhat high numbers is what should be of concern.  According to the article published by the New York Times it seems that in the southern areas the lack in resources for treating the disease are not readily available. Of course resources are a concern but we have to truly look into why the numbers are like they are and why the spread of the disease is elevated.

Read more on the study as reported by the New York Times:

More than a quarter of gay and bisexual men in some cities and states in the South are living with H.I.V., according to a new study — a far higher rate than in the country as a whole.

The study shows how much more common H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, is among gay black men, especially in the South, as well as how little is being done to prevent its spread in a group whose members face discrimination and are less likely to have medical insurance.

Gay men with insurance are more likely to be in treatment if they are infected or to be using pre-exposure prophylaxis if they are not, both of which significantly cut the chances that an infection will be passed on.

“There are just not enough services,” said Dr. Ronald O. Valdiserri, an AIDS expert at the Bloomberg School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

“It’s not just medical care — it’s housing, employment, vocational rehabilitation and transportation,” Dr. Valdiserri said. “These individuals are fairly vulnerable, and there aren’t enough assets to cope with their illness.”

Study

The study, by epidemiologists at Emory University in Atlanta, was published online Tuesday in a relatively obscure outlet, The Journal of Medical Internet Research: Public Health and Surveillance. But it was accompanied by a second editorial by top AIDS specialists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In South Carolina and Mississippi, the study estimated, 28 percent of gay and bisexual men are infected with H.I.V. In Louisiana, the estimated infection rate is 26 percent, and in Georgia, 25 percent. In Washington, D.C., which resembles a city more than a state in its demographics, it was even higher, 32 percent.
The lowest estimated infection rate was in South Dakota, where less than 4 percent of gay and bisexual men are infected. Among states that have particularly large gay populations, California’s estimated infection rate is 17 percent, Florida’s 18 percent and New York’s 20 percent.

The trend was even more pronounced in cities. Researchers counted only men who had received an H.I.V. diagnosis (the statewide figures relied on estimates), and consulted previous data on how much of each city’s population was gay and sexually active. Then the researchers calculated which 25 cities had the highest infection rates among those men.

In Jackson, Miss., that figure was 39 percent; in Columbia, S.C., 30 percent; in El Paso, almost 29 percent; and in Augusta, Ga., 27 percent. Twenty-one of the top 25 cities were in the South.

The lowest rate, just under 13 percent, was found in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area.

Nationwide, the report said, about 11 percent of gay and bisexual men have an H.I.V. diagnosis.

“We hope these data empower local public health officials, community-based organizations and everyone fighting H.I.V. to bring resources to the gay and bisexual men who need them the most,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the C.D.C.’s National Center for H.I.V./AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, S.T.D. and TB Prevention. ~ Source: New York Times

Even though the study says that the disease was more common to gay black men, we’d have to conclude that it would be due to the negative backlash that black men may endure for being gay and combined with the lack of resources to treat themselves is also a factor in the high numbers. 

EarHustle411 will continue to provide updates on this subject as they are provided. Eradicating this disease is a priority however treating those who have contracted it takes precedence. 

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