April 8, 2003
New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported April 2 that among 42 neighborhoods, Chelsea-Clinton had the second highest rate of new HIV diagnoses -- 236.6 per 100,000 people. Central Harlem-Morningside Heights had the highest rate at 236.9 per 100,000 people. "If you were to break it down by risk, you would see the highest rates among men who have sex with men," said Dr. Denis Nash, the department's director of surveillance.
In the first three months of 2002, 1,030 new HIV infections were recorded by the city, with 666 male cases and 364 female cases. Of those, 534 were African American, 314 were Latino, 156 were white, and the remaining 26 were Asian and Pacific Islander, Native American, or unknown. By transmission route, 244 were attributed to MSM, 170 to heterosexual sex, 106 to injecting drug use, six to mother-to-child infections, and 504 cases were unknown or under investigation.
In addition, 618 people were diagnosed with AIDS and another 373 people learned they were HIV-positive and received an AIDS diagnosis at the same time.
In a shocking disparity, the number of AIDS deaths per 1,000 HIV/AIDS cases was 42.2 in Central Harlem-Morningside Heights, 15.9 in Chelsea-Clinton, and 12.2 in Greenwich Village-Soho. The highest death rate was in Lower Manhattan, at 43.9 deaths per 1,000 cases. The death rate in the city's poorest neighborhoods ranged from 41.6 per 1,000 cases in Crotonia-Tremont to 35.5 in Brooklyn's East New York. "It's absolutely striking," Nash said. "It may be access to care or access to treatment."
By neighborhood, residents living with HIV/AIDS constituted 3.3 percent of the population of Chelsea-Clinton; 2 percent of Harlem-Morningside Heights and East Harlem; 1.9 percent of Greenwich Village-Soho; and 1.6-1.8 percent of Hunts Point-Mott Haven, High Bridge-Morrisania and Crotona-Tremont.
"For the first time we know how many people are diagnosed with HIV every year and that number turns out to be 6,779 in 2001," Nash said. "Blacks and Hispanics make up more than 80 percent of HIV diagnoses, new AIDS diagnoses, persons living with AIDS, and deaths, while they make up only about 52 percent of the population," he said. AIDS deaths, however, have continued to decline since 1995, Nash noted.