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Rhode Island: Tackling the Rise in Sex-Related Diseases

November 2, 2011

Too many Rhode Islanders are becoming infected with STDs including HIV -- a trend that schools can help reverse by offering condoms and improving sex education, state first lady Stephanie Chafee said on Oct. 27.

Chafee gave the opening remarks at a three-hour forum in Woonsocket sponsored by AIDS Project Rhode Island and other organizations. Chafee was one of the state's first registered nurses to work with AIDS patients and researchers during the 1980s. In addition to enhancing sex education and making condoms available, Chafee said prevention efforts should target high-risk populations, including gay men and minority youths.

Keynote speaker Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, an infectious-disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS is having on the black community. A variety of factors are driving higher rates among minorities, she said, including:

  • Young people's willingness to take risks;
  • Poverty;
  • High infection rates among black and Hispanic men in prison, where drug use and tattooing increase transmission risk; and
  • High overall HIV incidence among illegal immigrants who are black and Hispanic.

Ojikutu said no one factor alone explains the disparity, but that all are part of the problem.

Back to other news for November 2011

Adapted from:
Providence Journal-Bulletin
10.28.2011; Philip Marcelo

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More HIV Prevention Policy News on Northeastern U.S. States

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