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Prevention/Epidemiology

North Carolina: Task Force Seeks Money, Condoms to Fight AIDS

February 6, 2004

On Jan. 29, a Mecklenburg County task force laid out a plan to reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the area. Plans include condom distribution, syringe exchange, and outreach to high-risk groups. The task force called for the county to increase funding by $650,000 in fiscal 2004-05. The group also wants to create an HIV/AIDS council.

In a tight budget year, some task-force members said it might be difficult to fund the entire amount. Others doubted the recommendations would lead to any meaningful change. The task force's suggestions would likely be implemented through the county Health Department, but could also be carried out by community-based nonprofits.

Reported HIV cases in Mecklenburg County have risen every year since 2000. Through part of 2003, there were 332 new cases, a 52 percent increase from 218 cases in 2000. Task force figures show that 458 Mecklenburg residents died from HIV/AIDS between 1998-2002. HIV is the leading cause of death in the county for people ages 25-44.

Gwen Curry, co-chair of the task force, said the money would be used to hire two outreach workers, two HIV counselors, a disease intervention specialist, a marketer, six case managers and a nurse practitioner. The new employees would work toward the goal of eliminating all new Mecklenburg County HIV cases by 2015. The group estimates more than 3,000 county residents have HIV.

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"We are in an epidemic stage right now," Curry said. "The numbers will come down when we introduce science-based intervention that is culturally relevant, peer-led, empowering and community based and proven."

Mecklenburg County funded about $2.7 million in fiscal 2003-04 for communicable illness and disease prevention and treatment -- including more than $141,000 specifically for HIV prevention, outreach, counseling and testing.

Back to other news for February 6, 2004

Adapted from:
Charlotte Observer
01.30.04; Earnest Winston, Christina Breen Bolling



  
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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.
 

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