Colorado Counties Along Interstate With Major Ski Resorts Experiencing Higher HIV/AIDS Prevalence Rates
Colorado counties along the Interstate 70 corridor west of Denver, which includes some of the nation's most popular ski resorts, have some of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in rural areas of the state, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. About 10% of the 14,515 HIV-positive people living in Colorado in 2004 live in four counties -- Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin and Summit -- along the corridor, and the number of HIV/AIDS cases increased in all four counties from 2001 to 2004, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "It's about the resort communities, and people from other countries and other states coming in to party and play," Jeff Basinger -- resource coordinator for the Western Colorado AIDS Project, which serves 22 western Colorado counties -- said. Beth Dillon, STD/HIV section chief for the state health department, said that many of the ski communities "function like large cities" when they are "in season" but the number of HIV-positive people in the areas remains low. For example, 51 of the nearly 24,000 Summit County residents were HIV-positive in 2004. Health care workers in the region say they see more HIV-positive women and injection drug users than state averages. Basinger said health workers are beginning to tailor their HIV/AIDS education programs to women and injection drug users, as well as Hispanics because of the large number of Hispanic service workers in ski communities, according to the Rocky Mountain News (Florio, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.