*(Via The Conversation) – Increased funding, targeted prevention efforts and better treatment have helped to slow down the HIV epidemic in the United States. The number of new HIV-positive cases has decreased significantly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the number of new HIV diagnoses declining by 19 percent from 2005 to 2014.
This is not the case in many parts of the country, however. As AIDS and public health researchers, we are among those who are alarmed by areas in the southern United States where the numbers of cases have not declined and even more by the areas in which increases have occurred.
In particular, we have seen some disturbing trends in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where we do research on AIDS and health disparities. These are similar to trends in other nonurban settings in the southern United States where a majority of African-Americans live.
Southern nonurban black communities in crisis
In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., the number of new HIV infections has increased from 2014 to 2015, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In fact, Prince George’s County leads the state in the number of new HIV diagnoses, having surpassed Baltimore City in 2013.
With rates that are 20 times higher than those of whites in 2015, African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by HIV in Prince George’s County. In 2015, African-Americans constituted 86 percent of all new HIV diagnoses and 85 percent of the total population living with HIV.
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