STUDY: HIV Rates Are Highest In US South

From the Associated Press:

Three out of every 10 gay or bisexual men in several cities in the U.S. South have been diagnosed with the AIDS virus, three times the national rate, according to a study about how common HIV infections are in metro areas.

The study echoes other research that reported higher rates of HIV diagnoses in the South, in urban areas, and in gay and bisexual men, but it is the first to look at how common HIV diagnoses are in these men by city.

“For the first time, we can see not only the numbers, but the proportions,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report found 21 of the 25 metro areas with the highest levels of HIV diagnosis in gay and bisexual men were in the South. HIV was diagnosed in about 3 in 10 gay and bisexual men in El Paso, Texas; Augusta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Jackson, Mississippi, the rate was 4 in 10, the highest in the nation.

According to the report, about 11 percent of gay and bisexual men had been diagnosed living with an HIV infection nationwide during the time covered by the study.

More from the New York Times:

In South Carolina and Mississippi, the study estimated, 28 percent of gay and bisexual men are infected with H.I.V. In Louisiana, the estimated infection rate is 26 percent, and in Georgia, 25 percent. In Washington, D.C., which resembles a city more than a state in its demographics, it was even higher, 32 percent.

The lowest estimated infection rate was in South Dakota, where less than 4 percent of gay and bisexual men are infected. Among states that have particularly large gay populations, California’s estimated infection rate is 17 percent, Florida’s 18 percent and New York’s 20 percent.

The trend was even more pronounced in cities. Researchers counted only men who had received an H.I.V. diagnosis (the statewide figures relied on estimates), and consulted previous data on how much of each city’s population was gay and sexually active. Then the researchers calculated which 25 cities had the highest infection rates among those men.