Oklahoma Sees a Jump in AIDS Cases
March 3, 2003
Apathy among Oklahoma residents may be the cause of an increase in the number of AIDS cases, state health officials say. In a recent analysis conducted by the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York, Oklahoma City and Tulsa were among cities with the highest percent of change in the number of reported AIDS cases in the last decade. The study found the number of new AIDS cases reported in Oklahoma City has more than doubled since 1990. The study used data from the Census Bureau and CDC to track AIDS rate changes in the nation's 100 largest cities from 1990 to 2000.Adapted from:
In 2000, Oklahoma City had 94 new AIDS cases -- an incidence of about 18.6 new cases per 100,000 residents. In 1990, officials recorded 46 new AIDS cases in Oklahoma City. In Tulsa, the report showed 34 new cases in 2000, up from 28 in 1990. "You just have a group of people who have been inundated with talk about HIV and AIDS that they have just turned a deaf ear," said Michelle Green-Gilbert, a training director for the state Health Department.
The Health Department recorded 4,098 Oklahomans living with AIDS at the end of last year, with almost half -- 1,942 people -- ages 30 to 39. Less than 50 people with AIDS are under age 20. Health officials have also seen an increase in AIDS cases in the black community. One in five new HIV cases is among blacks, though African Americans constitute about 11-12 percent of Oklahoma's population, said Green-Gilbert. Health Department officials are working with clergy groups to help increase community awareness.
Jeane Ann Van Krevelan, executive director of the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, said about 400 volunteers across Oklahoma provide nonmedical support services to people living with AIDS. The group gives educational programs to local churches, but has seen a decline in requests, she said.
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.