Number of HIV Cases Decreasing Among Blacks in Florida, Increasing Among Other Groups, According to New State Data
June 20, 2005
The number of newly reported HIV cases among blacks in Florida decreased about 30% from 1999 to 2004, but the number of new cases among whites and Latinos increased during that time, according to new state data, a health official said on Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The number of new HIV cases in the state increased about 23% among whites and 29% among Latinos, Florida Secretary of Health John Agwunobi announced on Friday. State health officials said the increase primarily is attributable to increases among men who have sex with men (Shelton, Orlando Sentinel, 6/18). The number of new HIV cases fell about 34% among black women, from 1,710 in 1998 to 1,121 in 2004, and 24% among black men, from 2,012 to 1,520 during the same period, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Officials credited the reduction to outreach campaigns promoting safe sex practices. However, blacks still represent about half of all new HIV cases in the state, similar to national rates, the state data show. "Black cases still dominate the numbers, but the fact that the gap is closing is encouraging," Tom Liberti, director of HIV/AIDS for the state Department of Health, said (LaMendola, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/18). Although HIV/AIDS prevention and education efforts are showing progress among blacks in the state, Agwunobi said more work needs to be done. "The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains one of the single most important public health challenges that we have," he said (Orlando Sentinel, 6/18).
Number of Infant Cases Declining
Poor, Rural Areas in Florida Hard Hit
The Naples Daily News on Sunday profiled Immokalee, Florida, which -- like many rural, poverty-stricken areas in the state -- is hard hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Health officials say a lack of education and the daily struggle for survival contribute to the high rates of HIV/AIDS in Immokalee, where 1.4% of the population is HIV-positive. In addition, high rates of drug use and a lack of condom use contribute to the spread of the virus, researchers say. Increased HIV testing and education efforts, in addition to fighting the stigma surrounding the disease, are needed to control the rising numbers of new HIV cases in the area, according to officials and advocates (Zeitlin, Naples Daily News, 6/19).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.