Atlanta Journal-Constitution Profiles Changing Clientele at Atlanta AIDS Clinic
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday profiled the changing demographics of clients accessing Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Center, which is often cited as a model for "one-stop shopping for the health and social needs" of HIV-positive people. Public health officials say that clients accessing the clinic's outpatient services are less likely to be white, male, middle-class and gay -- the profile that was once "the definitive tag of people with AIDS" -- and are increasingly minorities, female, heterosexual and a mix of urban poor and rural, the Journal-Constitution reports. For example, although blacks make up only 29% of Georgia's population, they accounted for approximately 76% of the state's new AIDS cases in 2001. In addition, black women account for 84% of all AIDS cases among women in the state. The number of homeless clients has also increased -- between 15% and 20% of the city's homeless population is thought to be HIV-positive. "We're seeing more and more individuals who don't have the life skills it takes to handle" antiretroviral drug regimens, Angelle Vuchetich, a clinic program manager at the center, said. Although the clinic's comprehensive approach has led to fewer clients skipping appointments and a decline in AIDS-related illnesses, officials at Grady Health System, which operates the clinic, expect AIDS-related deaths to increase because of drug resistance among long-time patients and insufficient drug adherence among homeless clients (Guthrie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.