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HIV: California, New York and ... Georgia?

June 22, 2009 | 10:44 am

California and New York have the largest number of HIV-positive people in the country, but Georgia, surprisingly, has some of the highest incidence rates for the infection, according to the first county-by-county map of HIV infections and AIDS cases. Of the 48 U.S. counties with the highest prevalence rates for HIV infections, 25 of them are in Georgia, according to the data compiled by the National Minority Quality Forum, a nonprofit research organization. The high rate was attributed primarily to the large African American population in those counties and to poverty.

The two California counties with the highest prevalence rates were San Francisco, with a prevalence of 0.38%, and Marin, with a prevalence of 0.248%.

An estimated 1.1 million Americans are now thought to be HIV-positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 56,000 new infections occurring each year. At least 20% of those who are infected do not know their status, and they are believed to account for as much as 70% of new infections.

According to the new data, the epidemic is concentrated in about 20% of American counties: 556 of the 3,027 counties for which data is available. The epidemic is widespread among about two-thirds of the counties that are predominantly minority, according to the data.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II

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