Philadelphia Inquirer Examines Increase in Number of HIV/AIDS Cases Among Women
The Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday examined the nationwide increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases among women, noting that black and Hispanic women have been particularly hard hit by the disease. Many of the women do not engage in traditional high-risk behaviors, such as having multiple sex partners and injecting drugs, but instead contract HIV through heterosexual sex without a condom and often with men who also have sex with men. In 2001, about 30% of Philadelphia's new HIV/AIDS cases were among women, compared with 12% in 1990. The trend, which is occuring nationwide, presents a challenge to public health workers, who are trying to develop outreach and education strategies to reach women. However, women without obvious risk factors for HIV/AIDS tend to delay testing and are difficult to reach because they do not have well-defined hangouts and habits, according to the Inquirer. Prevention workers in the city plan to begin a federal pilot project later this year in which they will go into neighborhoods to talk to people about the disease. "We'll probably hang out on certain street corners and ask people to sit down for an interview in the neighborhood pizza parlor or doughnut shop," Kathleen Brady, an HIV epidemiologist for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said. "We reimburse them for their time. We're trying to reach high-risk heterosexuals to define who they are and where to find them," Brady added (McCullough, Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.