New Jersey: Blacks Still Bear the Brunt of AIDS
February 7, 2006
In New Jersey, HIV/AIDS is the top killer for black men and women ages 25-44, according to state officials. Blacks in New Jersey comprise 55 percent of the 33,000 state residents living with HIV/AIDS. The AIDS rate for black women is 18 times higher than that of white women, and the infection rate for black men is 10 times higher than for white men.
"It's a major disparity issue in New Jersey," said state Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs. As part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today, Jacobs' department is launching a public awareness campaign touting free 20-minute HIV tests to those who cannot afford them. The campaign includes radio spots and messages placed on public transportation.
"With this test, people [who are HIV-positive] can go right into counseling and treatment," said Jacobs.
Patricia Kloser, professor of medicine and public health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, said she has tested many patients over the years only to find their disease was advanced at diagnosis. Many people, she explained, were disconnected from the health care system and had never been offered HIV testing.
Still, the state has made progress. From 2000 to 2003, black men experienced a 39 percent drop in the rate of new HIV diagnoses. Black women during the same period experienced a 30 percent decline in new cases, New Jersey Health Department statistics show.
02.07.06; Angela Stewart
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.