In what some are calling a blow to the fight against aids, six U.S. cities have an aids rate among black women as high as some impoverished African countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya where aids is more wide-spread than in industrialized nations. This battle has been long forgotten about by many as it slowly moved to the back of the public's mind.
Baltimore, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Washington, D.C., Newark and New York City ranks the highest in aids infections. The new data come from the ISIS study (The Women's HIV Seroincidence Study), and reflect an analysis of at-risk women in six urban areas of the United States.
"This disease is alive and well in this country," said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, principal investigator for the Atlanta area of the study and professor of medicine and infectious disease at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "But this epidemic is the face of the forgotten people."
Leading to the cause researchers found that most earned $10,000 or less and poverty, food insecurity and substance abuse all act as confounding factors of HIV risk, Dr. Carlos Del Rio said, adding that nearly 40% who tested positive did not know they were already infected. It also found that many of the women have sexual encounters with unknown people, were IV drug users, or simply neglected to get check ups and were infected by other men who are highly sexually active.