June 23, 2009
Digital Map Shows America’s Highest HIV Rates Are in the South
A new Internet data map by the National Minority Quality Forum at maphiv.org gives a comprehensive “county-level” look at HIV cases in the United States and reveals that the South has the highest infection rates, The Associated Press reports.
While highly populated states such as New York and California have the highest numbers of HIV cases, the highest proportion of people living with the HIV is in the South, according to the data map. The atlas contains information for more than 90 percent of the nation’s counties, including Washington, DC.
The finding does not come as a surprise to Gary Puckrein, president of the National Minority Quality Forum, who said HIV infection rates are higher in African-American communities and that the South has large minority populations. Out of 48 counties with the highest prevalence rates for HIV, 25 counties were in Georgia. More than 0.7 percent of the population in those counties was HIV positive.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—which reports data at the state level—said that they were still skeptical of the county-focused map. “But we have long been part of the effort to identify geographic differences in the HIV epidemic,” CDC spokeswoman Elizabeth-Ann Chandler said. “And we do see the need for efforts like these to facilitate better understanding of these differences.”
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