Report on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., Raising Concerns Among Health Officials in South Carolina
A recent report finding that HIV/AIDS prevalence in Washington, D.C., has reached 3% is "raising alarm bells" in South Carolina's Lowcountry region, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. Although South Carolina's prevalence has not reached the same level as the district's, it is "still one of the riskiest states in the nation for unprotected sex," according to the Post and Courier. "We've made a lot of progress, but we can't be complacent," Tony Price, the HIV prevention program manager at the Department of Health and Environmental Control, said. Virginia King, director of Lowcountry AIDS Services, said that the district report should serve as a warning for South Carolina. "It could become more of a problem here if people don't start to pay attention to what they do," she said.
According to the Post and Courier, blacks are at an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. In South Carolina, blacks comprise 29% of the population but account for 73% of HIV cases, according to the health department. The health department also reports that men who have sex with men, particularly black MSM, are at an increased risk, as well as injection drug users and women, who are increasingly affected through heterosexual intercourse. According to the health department, the percentage of HIV-positive blacks in South Carolina has decreased over the past 10 years, which health workers attribute to increased HIV/AIDS education and testing efforts (Munday, Charleston Post and Courier, 3/18).