AIDS Groups See Stigma, Misinformation in Mississippi
March 15, 2011
Misunderstandings and taboos surrounding HIV/AIDS in Mississippi are tantamount to those in sub-Saharan Africa, health officials told state legislators on March 9 at what is hoped to be the first of a series of Annual HIV/AIDS Days at the Capitol.
"These policies combine to create a high-risk environment where it is difficult for many people to avoid HIV infection and to access lifesaving treatment and support," according to the report, "Rights at Risk: State Response to HIV in Mississippi." Harvard's State Healthcare Access Research Project also released a report indicating approximately half of all new AIDS cases arise from the South, which allocates the least funds to the epidemic. The report notes that 50 percent of the known infected are not receiving treatment.
McLemore criticized the abstinence-rooted sex education bill, and she voiced worry over the state's official resistance to federal health care reform and to state laws criminalizing HIV exposure.
Dr. Nicholas Mosca, director for Mississippi's Department of Health STD/HIV program, encourages testing and has declared HIV to be a "chronic condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure." Even so, event participants confirmed that widespread shame breeds ostracization.
03.09.2011; Molly Davis
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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