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Conversations From AIDS 2012: Ron Valdiserri and Kathie Hiers Discuss HIV/AIDS in the South

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H.

August 9, 2012

Editor's Note: We had opportunities to catch up with so many great partners on so many important issues while at the XIX International Conference on AIDS (AIDS 2012) last month, we are continuing to bring you interviews this week.

During AIDS 2012 late last month, I had an opportunity to sit down with Ms. Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama. We had a very interesting discussion about the heavy burden of HIV  among the states in the Southern United States and the innovative approaches that Kathie and her colleagues  are taking to respond to this situation.

While anyone can become infected with HIV, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy acknowledges that some Americans are at greater risk than others. This includes, among others, people from communities with a higher prevalence of HIV infection. According to the CDC, in 2009, the number of adults and adolescents living with an AIDS diagnosis was highest in the South. In addition, at the end of 2010, the South accounted for 45% of the estimated 33,015 new AIDS diagnoses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, followed by the Northeast (24%), the West (19%), and the Midwest (13%). As a result of the greater HIV risks experienced by some racial/ethnic minorities, people in certain risk groups, and those in higher prevalence communities, the Strategy directs us to focus our efforts where HIV is concentrated, so that we can have the biggest impact..

Watch our brief conversation below. Then, use the comments section below to let us know if your organization is working to address HIV/AIDS in the South.

Read more about the geographic distribution of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. in this new fact sheet from CDC.

Stay tuned for more posts featuring conversations from AIDS 2012 later this week and next.

Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H. is deputy assistant secretary for health, infectious diseases, and director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.




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