Embiggen the image at the left for a sobering look at HIV viral loads in San Francisco’s neighborhoods. Darker shaded areas provide stark proof of the failure to provide HAART therapy to city’s poor. Via New York Times:
Like an elongated, bearded profile, a dark stain covers Potrero Hill and Bayview. It shows where the sickest AIDS patients live. Many are untreated. The map is the product of a groundbreaking effort to identify where care should be focused. The research combines medical records and epidemiological tools to show the intensity of the illness, measured by individual’s viral load, the number of viral particles in a patient’s bloodstream. The ultimate goal is to provide treatment and stop transmission of the disease. Using the data of individuals’ viral load levels, the city can track where the virus is circulating and focus attention on the deepest reservoirs of H.I.V. Successful anti-retroviral treatment reduces the load in an individual so it is undetectable in the blood. The less virus in the blood, the lower the chance of infecting others. Dr. Grant Colfax, director of H.I.V. prevention and research in the Department of Public Health, calls San Francisco’s mapping of the viral loads measured from 2005 through 2007 “a thermometer.”
According the above-linked article, San Francisco presently has about 15,000 reported cases of HIV/AIDS. Those with the highest viral loads tend to be African-American, homeless, and transgender.