A recent study documenting HIV rates for homosexual or bisexual men found that they are more at risk of becoming infected in multiple southern cities. The number of infected men in the metropolitan areas of several southern states was above average compared to other U.S. cities.
It was determined that cities like Columbia, South Carolina, El Paso, Texas, and Jackson, Mississippi had the highest rates. From the 25 metropolitan areas with the highest diagnosed prevalence rates, 21 were in the south and 6 of them had more than 25 percent of the men infected, according to the study published in JMIR Publications.
The results offer insights based on population estimates, which puts to evidence the estimated number of infected men in the metropolitan areas and the difference between the rural ones. Men who have sex with other men have represented the majority of people living and acquiring HIV nationwide, the study stated.
“This is really the first time we have been able to examine the HIV infection burden at such fine levels of geography,” said Eli Rosenberg, assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, during a press conference.
The information was gathered through publicly available data from AIDSVu.org and the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2012 and 2013. For the estimates, researchers used the methodology from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and American Community Survey.
Better health policies
It was concluded by the researchers that HIV infections were hyperendemic among some of the metropolitan areas, specifically those in the south. The data could be used as a strategy to address the situation by jurisdictions, where this can use the results to direct resources, programs and policies to optimally benefit the most affected areas.
According to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, knowing where the greatest rates of infections are is key to targeting public health resources where they are most needed.
“We hope these data empower local public health officials, community-based organizations, and everyone fighting HIV to bring resources to the gay and bisexual men who need them the most,” Mermin told PBS Newshour.
Source: JMIR Publications