Latinos Account for Higher Percentage of HIV/AIDS Cases in Cleveland; Officials Call for More Complete Reporting
Although black and white men still account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in Cleveland, the proportion of HIV cases occurring among Latino men in the city increased in 2002, according to city health officials, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. In conjunction with the federal Rapid Assessment, Response and Evaluation project, officials were able to "pinpoint" the trend and its causes to three neighborhoods on the city's West Side, where 51% of the city's Latino population lives. After identifying the trend, city officials urged Latino advocates to teach AIDS prevention and encouraged Spanish-speaking churches to "help families feel comfortable" discussing sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Officials also targeted agencies aimed at curtailing injection drug use among Latinos, the Plain Dealer reports. But the city Department of Public Health efforts are "ma[d]e ... more difficult" because federal HIV/AIDS funding has remained "stagnant" in recent years, while the number of HIV/AIDS cases has increased, the Plain Dealer reports. In addition, most of the federal funding the city receives is aimed at blacks, gay men and women, according to the Plain Dealer. However, the city's monthly HIV/AIDS data is not complete. City health officials said that about 40% of the HIV/AIDS cases reported in 2003 did not include transmission information and about 20% did not include race or ethnicity, according to the Plain Dealer. Dr. Wendy Johnson, medical director of the city health department, said, "It's always a difficult balance because you don't want to play one community off another community" (McEnery, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.