HIV/AIDS and Poverty Highest in the South
Perhaps there is a reason they call it the “Dirty South.” Most U.S. counties with both high rates of poverty and HIV infections are located in Southern states, a new Emory University AIDSVu project study concludes.
The study also states that 1 in every 5 people live below the poverty line in the most heavily infected counties in the South.
“People with household incomes of $10,000 were 10 times more likely to likely to be HIV positive than those people with household incomes greater than $50,000,” said Jonathan Mermin, director of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The numbers are abominable and frightening: In Mississippi, for example, blacks represent 76 percent of the new HIV cases even though they only comprise 37 percent of the state’s population.
In nearby Louisiana, it’s just as bad: blacks are 30 percent of the population and make up about 70 percent of the new HIV cases.
In fact, the 175 counties that rank in the top 20 percent for both HIV and poverty are located in the South: Delaware, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.
And there are more mind-numbing numbers: The average poverty rate in the 439 counties in the U.S. with the highest HIV/AIDS rates is 20 percent in the South, compared to 13 percent for the rest of the nation.
In 2006, African Americans accounted for almost half of the new HIV infections in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., even though we constitute just 13 percent of the U.S. population.