Report highlights Atlanta’s AIDS epidemic
Atlanta is ranked No. 1 among U.S. cities when it comes to new HIV cases, and experts blame a lack of adequate resources and testing where most people go for healthcare. Stigma, extreme poverty and fear of a positive diagnosis also rank high among the list of reasons why people do not get tested for HIV.
Grady Hospital has diagnosed an average of two or three patients with HIV a day since starting a routine testing program in 2013. Almost one-third of patients diagnosed with the virus have advanced to clinical AIDS. “This is something that keeps me awake at night in Atlanta,” Dr. Abigail Hankin-Wei told WABE.
Hankin-Wei runs Grady’s FOCUS HIV testing program. The hospital is the only emergency department in the city that offers HIV testing to every patient regardless of why they came in. It takes about eight to 10 years for HIV to advance to AIDS if left untreated. Across the state of Georgia, nearly one-third of those are diagnosed with AIDS.
Nationally, an estimated 14 percent of people do not even know they’re infected with the disease. Let’s all work together to be GREATER THAN AIDS. To find a testing facility in your area click here.
How can we continue to raise awareness of, and break stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS?