Populations at Risk of HIV Need Directed Prevention Messages, Editorial Says
Because recent statistics show that HIV "disproportionately" affects blacks and men who have sex with men, programs that provide prevention, testing and treatment messages should be directed at those populations, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial says (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/21). According to CDC data from 33 states published on Friday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. leveled in 2004, falling from 22.8 new cases per 100,000 people in 2001 to 20.7 per 100,000 last year. The rate of new diagnoses was highest among blacks in 2004, despite decreases in the rate every year between 2001 and 2004. The number of new cases among MSM increased 8% from 2003 to 2004, according to the data (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/18). The decrease in the rate of new diagnoses among blacks could be associated with a decline in the rate among injection drug users and heterosexuals, the report said, according to the Journal-Constitution. Those declines might be the result of successes with "controversial prevention programs, such as New York's government-funded needle-exchange program," the editorial says. The numbers also show that "targeted prevention and treatment programs aimed, for instance, at black males who have sex with other men, could eventually have an impact," the editorial says, adding that such programs have "no impact at all" unless at-risk populations are willing to make changes. If at-risk populations receive "the right message and the information they need," then this "epidemic may finally be brought under control," the editorial concludes (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.