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NYC's Chelsea Neighborhood Has the Highest HIV Infection Rates in the City

By Kellee Terrell

September 21, 2011

Which area in New York City do you believe has the highest HIV/AIDS rates? The South Bronx? Lower East Side? East New York?

According to new data released from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the 'hood with the highest infections rates is Chelsea. This neighborhood, which is located in Manhattan roughly between West 14th and West 30th streets and between Sixth Avenue and the West Side Highway, has a rate of 155.3 HIV diagnoses per 100,000 people.

This rate is more than triple the rate of the city's overall average. DNA Info reported:

More people in Chelsea who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS identify themselves as men who have sex with men than the citywide average, the data said.

Of those infected in Chelsea in 2009, roughly 75 percent of those diagnosed with HIV self-reported to the Health Department as being men who have sex with men, compared to 43 percent of those diagnosed citywide who self reported as men who have sex with men, according to the study.

In addition, a majority of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS who live in Chelsea are white, a much higher proportion than the citywide average, the Health Dept. found. About 54.5 percent of those diagnosed in Chelsea are white, compared with approximately 16.7 percent citywide. The population of Chelsea was 65 percent white, according to the 2000 Census.

Historically, the area has a relatively high level of the virus, which leads it to spread more easily, but experts also credit continued unsafe sex in the community.

Central Harlem clocked in a close No. 2 with an infection rate of 127.1 per 100,000 people.

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.


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