The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent study has shown that HIV infection rates are highest among states in the South. On the positive side, infection rates have either remained the same or dropped across most parts of the country.
The 2011 HIV Surveillance Report marks the first time HIV infection infection numbers have been tracked from all corners of the country. The areas with the highest rates were the entire South, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The total number of HIV infections remained stable between 2008 and 2011, the years covered in the report.
The number of infections increased in some groups while decreasing in others. HIV infection increased among people in their twenties. The rate of infection decreased for people aged 30 – 64 years old. Rates remained the same for children, teenagers, and the elderly.
HIV infection rates decreased among African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islands, and people of multiple rates, but rates remained highest among African Americans.
The female rate of infection decreased over the three year period. Males accounted for 79 percent of all HIV infections. HIV infections increased among men who had sex with men; but the number of infections resulting from drug needles, male-to-male sex combined with drug needle use, and heterosexual contact dropped.
While infection rates are highest in the South, the rate has dropped in the past three years. No states have seen a drastic upswing in infections.
The older someone was when they got diagnosed, the faster they died from the infection. Death rates were highest among people who acquired HIV through the use of drug needles.
ThinkProgress, a progressive blog owned by the Center for American Progress, noted that many of the states with the highest rates are also states that lack comprehensive sexual education requirements that would provide an education about HIV infection from an early age. The states with the highest infection rates also have a larger number of African Americans, among whom HIV transmission remains the highest.
HIV infection rates may be highest in the South, but the epidemic remains a problem that affects the entire US.
[Image via ShutterStock]