Increase in HIV/AIDS Cases in Baltimore ‘Disturbing,’ Editorial Says
The increase in HIV/AIDS cases in Baltimore is "disturbing," and city officials should not "wait" for an inventory of HIV prevention and treatment programs to be completed before implementing new strategies to address the disease, a Baltimore Sun editorial says (Baltimore Sun, 3/31).
According to a report released last week by the Baltimore City Commission on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment, the number of HIV cases recorded in the city among people ages 20 to 29 increased by 10% annually between 2000 and 2006. The report also found that blacks account for 90% of new cases in the city. The commission's report called on the city to begin measuring results of its prevention efforts to ensure that people who test HIV-positive receive treatment access. The report also said that Baltimore should increase HIV/AIDS education in the city's public school system. In addition, it recommended a citywide advertising campaign to increase awareness about the disease and programs to provide homeless people living with HIV/AIDS with housing and treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/31).
According to the editorial, HIV treatment is "generally available" in Baltimore, which is why the commission "focused its efforts on pushing for more and better prevention efforts." It adds that almost $6 million in federal, state and city funding are "being spent in prevention, but there has been inadequate tracking of how the money is being used and who benefits." The Baltimore City Health Department is compiling an inventory of programs "to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the AIDS prevention effort" in the city, according to the editorial. Although the "ambitious agenda" will require additional resources, "prevention is less costly than treatment, and knocking Baltimore and Maryland out of the AIDS top 10 is a worthy goal," the editorial concludes (Baltimore Sun, 3/31).