Florida: Cases of HIV Tumble in Glades, But Young Women Cited as Concern
June 10, 2005
Despite an HIV/AIDS rate that is nearly five times that of eastern Palm Beach County, the epidemic in the Glades is slowing down considerably. In the last six years, HIV cases in the Glades have decreased by nearly 60 percent, and the number of AIDS cases dropped 59 percent from 2002 to 2004. According to the most recent figures from the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of HIV/AIDS, the Glades has 806 HIV cases, compared with 5,889 in the eastern part of the county.
At a recent gathering of health care and social service workers in Palm Beach County, state Senior Epidemiologist Spencer Lieb said that the county's latest surveillance indicates HIV prevention programs should start targeting young women. "The focus is shifting," Lieb told the meeting. In 2004, 12 HIV cases were recorded among girls ages 13-19 in the western part of the county, including Belle Glade, South Bay and Pahokee. And among 20- to 29-year-olds, 19 cases were reported among women, compared with 14 among men.
"We have a lot of teens that are sexually active," said the Rev. Patricia Wallace, who was one of several pastors attending the meeting. "And the only people that are in denial are their parents," she added.
A panel group discussed ways to eliminate HIV's disproportionate impact on minorities, including the stigma associated with it in the black community. "Discrimination and stigma are killing people," said Dr. Betty Baker. Though blacks account for just 14 percent of the county's adult population, they comprise 53 percent of HIV/AIDS cases.
Palm Beach Post
06.03.2005; Connie Piloto
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.