2 local counties show high HIV, AIDS rates

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ATLANTA --- A new Internet data map offers a first-of-its-kind, county-level look at HIV cases in the U.S. and finds infection rates tend to be highest in the South.

The highest numbers of cases are in population centers such as New York and California. However, many areas with the highest rates of HIV -- that is, the highest proportion of people with the AIDS-causing virus -- are in the South, according to the data map, which has information for more than 90 percent of the nation's counties and Washington, D.C.

HIV infection rates are higher in black communities, and high minority populations in the South help explain the finding.

Though that's not surprising, the high rates seen throughout states including Georgia and South Carolina were, said Gary Puckrein, the president of the National Minority Quality Forum, the nonprofit research organization that put the map together.

Of 48 counties with the highest prevalence rates for HIV that had not progressed to AIDS, 25 were in Georgia. Those were counties in which more than 0.7 percent of the population was infected with HIV.

In the Augusta area, Richmond and Burke counties are among those with the highest prevalence of both HIV and AIDS.

Though Richmond County was not a surprise, Burke County was, said Sandra Wimberly, a public health educator with the East Central Health District in Augusta, which includes both counties.

"That is really interesting," she said.

The 13-county district had 2,521 HIV and AIDS cases as of last year.

The problem with some of the rural counties is "the people really don't come out to get the information or the education, and certainly not the test," Ms. Wimberly said. "Because they are so small, people are afraid that somebody in their little small county are going to know who they are."

Removing the stigma some people attach to testing is Ms. Wimberly's goal and one of the motives for National HIV Testing Day, which is Saturday.

Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia were heavily represented on another map of counties, which showed the highest prevalence rates for cases that had progressed to AIDS.

The map depicts reported numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS in 2006. Mr. Puckrein said the data came from state health departments and was checked against information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Different states report data in different ways, and there might be case duplication that could affect some of the findings, Mr. Puckrein said.

The CDC's HIV and AIDS prevalence data is reported on a state level, not by county.

CDC officials were cautious about the data map, saying they hadn't seen all the organization's information.

"But we have long been part of the effort to identify geographic differences in the HIV epidemic, and we do see the need for efforts like these to facilitate better understanding of these differences," said CDC spokeswoman Elizabeth-Ann Chandler.

Staff Writer Tom Corwin contributed to this article.

PREPARING FOR THE TESTS

The Richmond County Health Department will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. today to talk about plans for National HIV Testing Day, which is Saturday. The event will be held in the training room at the Health Department's main clinic, 950 Laney-Walker Blvd. Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and East Central Health District Director Ketty Gonzalez are expected to attend.

FOR MORE DETAILS on the HIV data map, go to: www.MapHIV.org.

Comments (68) Add comment
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HillGuy
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HillGuy 06/23/09 - 03:30 am
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Not surprising with the

Not surprising with the "down-low" culture among many black males.

redapples
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redapples 06/23/09 - 03:45 am
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I'm hard pressed to recall

I'm hard pressed to recall much good news coming out of Richmond County these days. Unfortunately, this is among some of the worst news.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/23/09 - 06:02 am
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Intelligent comments aren't

Intelligent comments aren't allowed even if no race or group is mentioned.

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 06/23/09 - 06:18 am
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You know patriciathomas I

You know patriciathomas I wonder if you have a life outside of posting your negative comments here daily. And i don't mean your typical daily routine of standing around the campfire with your white hood on, or sitting around playing kissing cousin while picking your nose at the table. You need a hobby besides making racial comments all day. While i'm not really sure about everyone else, i'm tired of hearing your ignorant rants. So why don't you get the trailer pressure washed, enjoy your neighbors in the trailer park and lay low for a while.

jboy
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jboy 06/23/09 - 06:24 am
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This lady was talking about

This lady was talking about thse counties being small, Burke is the Second biggest county in Georgia.

SCGAL53
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SCGAL53 06/23/09 - 06:25 am
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panther- are you saying

panther- are you saying hillguy's remark is appropriate?

LadyCisback
4
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LadyCisback 06/23/09 - 06:37 am
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I am not surprised at all by

I am not surprised at all by these findings..

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/23/09 - 07:06 am
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pantherluv, I know you don't

pantherluv, I know you don't like my comments, but I also notice you never disagree. Maybe the truth is insulting, but bearable. As the old man used to say, "If you don't like being called dirty, bathe".

Townie
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Townie 06/23/09 - 07:24 am
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patriciathomas, are you any

patriciathomas, are you any relation to Clarence Thomas? Just wondering. I see a pattern here. Your disdain for anything not like you (or perhaps it is A LOT LIKE YOU) only proves your narrowmindedness. "He that doth protest the most"...........

elizaw
8
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elizaw 06/23/09 - 07:24 am
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You know PatriciaThomas you

You know PatriciaThomas you reap what you sow. You are really a horrible person, my heart really goes out to people like you. I pray for you daily that your heart will change.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/23/09 - 07:25 am
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What? Your comment is just

What? Your comment is just too complicated for me to understand Townie. Would you please mix some information with all those words?

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/23/09 - 07:27 am
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Horrible, elizaw? In what

Horrible, elizaw? In what way? Look at the way the "massa" Dem party has treated the black population and tell me how things have improved since '64.

ironpurps
174
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ironpurps 06/23/09 - 07:44 am
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I just skip anything I see

I just skip anything I see that says her name on it....

andywarhol
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andywarhol 06/23/09 - 08:24 am
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PTs comment doesn't show any

PTs comment doesn't show any racial overtones. People just don't like hearing the truth. Sometimes it hurts, but if you hold people to hight standards and expectations they will eventually pick themselves up. This constant feeling sorry for and taking care of people undeserving isn't helping.

bigfoot
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bigfoot 06/23/09 - 08:27 am
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Actually Patriciathomas is

Actually Patriciathomas is not female. The name is part of the desguise to protect the racist, bigotted and ugly cancer that has infected this nation since the "W" took over eight years ago, (actually it was Dick who was running the country) and "W" was the puppet. Now that your secret is out Patricia, get a life and a job and get off of those welfare rolls that you so highly disdain.

ironpurps
174
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ironpurps 06/23/09 - 08:29 am
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We, as a county and region,

We, as a county and region, cannot do anything if we, yes we, as a group do not address the issue at hand. Sex outside of marriage is wrong in the sight of a Holy God, and one of the repercussions of that is the spread of disease, not to mention the destruction of the family unit.

AAQueen
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AAQueen 06/23/09 - 08:32 am
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Hill guy is correct. The

Hill guy is correct. The black male mentallity about their manhood is still a hugh issue. Being a 'boy' or 'gay' is not acceptable. Some are on the down low (why)and will keep it a secret for life. My African American brothers would rather suffer than come out of the closet. African Ameican males are not tolerant of homosexuals or anything they perceive as a threat to their manhood. Until they get it through their thick skull that they are every bit as vulnerable to HIV and AIDS as any other person then we will continue to have high rates of infection in our communities. The saying , "I ain't gay so I won' get AIDS" played out a long time ago. The parents AND schools need to educate, educate, and educate.

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 06/23/09 - 08:39 am
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" Down low", versus what? The

" Down low", versus what? The wide open closet of White males?

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 06/23/09 - 08:47 am
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PT, does not have any thing

PT, does not have any thing positive to say about Black. He and his ILK scans the articles salivating for any opportunity to bash Blacks. I do not care what the topic is, as lone as a Black person is involved, the comments will run 4-1. On the other hand if Whites are involved, the responses are more sympathetic. I do not care if the person just raped or murdered 50 people, if he is white, the comments are more sympathetic. The same is true when it comes to victims of crime, if they are of color then it is " must have been drug related or baby daddy. With whites, so sad, what a terrible crimes and so on. Now add that to your facts.

REP
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REP 06/23/09 - 08:52 am
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Burke county is large land

Burke county is large land mass wise not population.

AAQueen
18
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AAQueen 06/23/09 - 08:56 am
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Colcamp1 Yes, you are what

Colcamp1 Yes, you are what you are. I understand that most of my brothers feel that this would be just one more "stigma' attached to them to keep them down but all this hiding leads them to be careless and then their families suffer. A stolen/hidden night may lead to death. It's also their community that they hide from. I recently found out that my 18 year old niece is gay. When I talked to her about it she claims that she's been a lesbian as long as she could remember, that she kept it on the 'down low' because of the comments relatives had made about homsexuality. The only thing I'm trying to school her on is safe sex.

As far as people like PT I tend to ignore it.

marandan
24
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marandan 06/23/09 - 09:03 am
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Some people just act so

Some people just act so primitive, that they will stick whatever they can, be it distant relative or a young naive girl, who wants attention. These males, have no control over their primal instincts, they are no more than animals with clothes. If you would have respect for yourselves and the person you choose to have sex with, and stay true to each other, this epidemic may not affect you. Life is about choices, some are good, and some can cost you your life!

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 06/23/09 - 09:07 am
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I have come to realized that

I have come to realized that mostly the married ones are hiding the fact. The single people that I am aware of, are more open with their sexuality. I find it very hard to believe tat most of those married to these men are that naive. I believe that it is more a matter of not wanting to give up a certain financially life style. Whatever the reasons are, IMHO, you are lower than manure, if you are not truthful to others about that fact. I do not believe in bi-sexual. Either you are straight or gay.

corgimom
31448
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corgimom 06/23/09 - 09:22 am
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No matter how you get it,

No matter how you get it, AIDS is a hideous disease that no one deserves to have. Right now, it's more prevalent in blacks, but it's just a matter of time before it's more prevalent in whites, just out of sheer numbers. This isn't about race, or sexual preference, or morals, or drug use. It's about a terrible disease that kills people slowly and with great suffering. And there are a whole lot of whites that have it and just don't know it yet.

cparker
68
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cparker 06/23/09 - 09:23 am
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Why does everyone seem to

Why does everyone seem to misunderstand patriciathomas? Shouldn't he keep those negro's in their place? Blacks are simply paranoid that his mentality resembles that of the 1950's minus the whips and dogs!!

cparker
68
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cparker 06/23/09 - 09:33 am
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HIV/AIDS is an epidemic all

HIV/AIDS is an epidemic all over the US. It is more prevalent to blacks in the south, but that leaves plenty to consider everywhere else. We have got to do a better job of educating people about health risks with regards to HIV/AIDS. Two years ago we slowed money for sex eduation because people were saying children were being taught to have sex, but we all know that was a well spun lie due to the elections. Children are being exposed to sexual explicit movies, music, and conversations everywhere they go and we must address this more directly. Rap music is not the only music telling kids in code about sex. The point of singing in code is to keep parents out of the loop & directing kids to sexually interesting lessons that their parents never talk about. Just listen to R. Kelly's song called "Twelve Play".

corgimom
31448
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corgimom 06/23/09 - 09:40 am
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The sad part is that while

The sad part is that while many people say education is the key to stopping this, schools cannot discuss AIDS without discussing homosexuality- and then the nutcases come out and start talking about how schools are indoctrinating children about homosexuality and recruiting them. Isn't it sad that some people have such issues about truth? That their relationship with their children is so poor that they think that hearing the truth about things could change their sexual preference? Those same people learned about homosexuality when they were teenagers themselves and it didn't affect them, but they have these baseless, irrational fears and ideas- it's just so sad.

marandan
24
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marandan 06/23/09 - 09:48 am
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The attitude of "it can't

The attitude of "it can't happen to me", affects a lot of unplanned and unwanted children, and unwanted diseases(Viruses). but both are caused by bad choices." you reap what you sow". Its so hard for people to say, It is your own fault, noone elses. Accountability. Stop making excuses for those who dont live the way they should. Life has absolutes (Do's and Don'ts). Each decade, we as a society have become more and more permissive to people living any lifestyle they desired, and then we cry and moan how it is such a trajedy, when they wind up in trouble, and we as a society are asked to pay for their misfortune. Well, the time has come to speak the truth. Don't allow the carefree mindless actions of some go unchastised. You created the situation you are in, knowing right from wrong, you chose wrong. Sometimes people need tough love.

corgimom
31448
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corgimom 06/23/09 - 10:04 am
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So when children are born HIV

So when children are born HIV positive, then what? When innocent people in marital relationships are given HIV because of actions taken by their partners years before, then what? When people in hospitals contract it from blood or improper procedures, then what? Too many people view it as a punishment, a moral issue, when it is a DISEASE issue. Marandan, how nice that your world is so black and white and that in your world only people that deserve it, get it. I wonder what all of those people that I mentioned, did wrong? And I speak as someone who has a family member who contracted Hep-C from a blood transfusion. I guess according to you, he deserved it because he got sick and needed open-heart surgery? Hey, do you realize that YOU could be in that situation?

marandan
24
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marandan 06/23/09 - 10:24 am
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Don't try to turn it on me.

Don't try to turn it on me. They, the ones affected, have made poor choices, or in the case of improper procedures, should be made as an example of how someones hideous disease, has spread to innocent children or adults, who at no fault of their own will suffer the consequences. Noone in my family, has had any issues with AIDS/HIV. It is not luck, me and mine live a life of morality. If anyone lives a moral lifestyle, they more times than not, will never be affected by these diseases. Sometimes it happens, but the attitude of living carefree, will usually have dire results. I believe we as a society need to stand strong against the lifestyle of destruction. Dont feel sorry for them, and try to convince me I should have to pay for their remaining life, and I should feel bad for them. (I am referring to the adults whose lifestyle put them in the situation) If they want to run around and screw anything that allows them to, I say "ADIOS". It would probably be better if they would die immediately, so they didnt have a chance to spread it around, and it would be a better deterent. Yes some are innocently struck with this disease, but the majority deserved what they got.

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