Atlanta's Alarming HIV & AIDS Stats Are Our Problem

Michael Arceneaux
Original Article:

The headline is as frightening as it sounds: “Half Of Atlanta’s Newly Diagnosed HIV Patients Have AIDS, Grady Testing Finds.”

Yet, what may sound like an isolated problem is a complicated issue whose faults are multidimensional and could easily pour over into other major metropolitan cities. If they haven’t already.

As NPR’s Lisa Hagen reports, Atlanta finds itself the number five ranked city when it comes to new diagnoses of HIV — a statistic that is rooted in HIV testing not being offered in places where most people get access to health care. Moreover, this has spurred nearly one-third of those diagnosed having clinical AIDS. Grady Hospital has only started its routine testing program in 2013, but as Hagen notes, an average of two to three patients are diagnosed with HIV each day of the week.

Nonetheless, an abdication of leadership can make any matter more complicated than it needs to be. So blame goes to Governor Deal. The same can be said of other health agencies. I couldn’t help but read into this statistic and think of The New York Times’ 2013 report about poor Black and Latino men who have sex with men becoming the face of HIV/AIDS partially due to there being a lack of model on how to reach these men about preventive measures.

There has to be a will to fight HIV/AIDS for all people. This is evidence that needs to be done in the way of meeting that goal.

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