Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel Series Examines AIDS in South Florida
The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel on Sunday published a six-part series called "AIDS in South Florida." The Sun-Sentinel reports that AIDS is "on a rampage in our backyard" and is "spreading like a cancer, slowly killing people" throughout the region. According to the series, HIV prevalence "soared" in South Florida last year, increasing by "an unprecedented" 44% in Palm Beach County, 30% in Broward County and 18% in Miami-Dade County. The following summarizes each of the six articles in the series:
- "Chapter One: Survivors": The article looks at how HIV/AIDS drugs are keeping people alive "longer than ever." Although medications keep the virus under control, HIV still complicates the pre-existing health problems of people who are HIV-positive (Doup, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/8).
- "Chapter Two: Children": The article looks at how 10 years ago, children infected with HIV at birth were given "little hope" by physicians, but now many of the offspring of HIV-positive women are born HIV-negative in large part because of new medications. In addition, many children with HIV are living longer due to the drugs, the Sun-Sentinel reports (Doup, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/8).
- "Chapter Three: African Americans": HIV "stalks" the African-American community and AIDS-related complications are the leading cause of death of African-American men and women ages 25 to 44 in Florida, the Sun-Sentinel reports. According to the Sun-Sentinel, one out of every 46 African Americans in Florida has HIV, and many are "too fearful to get tested or confront their partners" because they "fear losing their job, damaging their reputation or even physical retaliation" (Doup, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/8).
- "Chapter Four: Immigrants": The article looks at the "struggle" facing immigrants with HIV/AIDS, whose illnesses are complicated by "daunting roadblocks" such as language barriers and different cultures and beliefs. In particular, immigrant women are "often frighteningly powerless" in fighting the disease. The women, "even when infected by their husbands," often are "afraid to speak up" out of fear of abandonment or physical violence (Doup, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/8).
- "Chapter Five: Young Gays": The article examines the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among young gay people in the region. The Sun-Sentinel reports that HIV transmission is sometimes "helped along by the party atmosphere" in South Florida. In addition, many young gay men are not aware of their HIV status and are not practicing safe sex, the Sun-Sentinel reports (Doup, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/8).
- "Chapter Six: Solutions": The article looks at the many ways in which health care workers and researchers are "finding ways to fight" HIV/AIDS, including making AIDS awareness campaigns available in several languages, eliminating the taboos surrounding HIV/AIDS, encouraging HIV testing and condom use and teaching about the disease, abstinence and condom use in schools (Doup, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/8).
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