SASI’s new Report, State of HIV in the US Deep South,[Full text] [Abstract] is co-authored by Susan Reif, Donna Safley, Carolyn McAllaster, Elena Wilson and Kathryn Whetten and published in the Journal of Community Health on February 28, 2017.
Recent SASI research has documented that the US Deep South region (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX) is a significant driver of the US HIV epidemic with especially high HIV and AIDS diagnosis rates and HIV-related death rates from 2008-2013.
This new paper examines recent data on HIV epidemiology, HIV care and prevention financing, and research literature on factors that predispose the Deep South region to experience a greater HIV burden. In 2014, the Deep South region continued to have the highest HIV diagnosis rate and numbers and the highest HIV-related death rate of any US region. African Americans have been hard hit by HIV and represent a majority of new diagnoses as well as a majority of people living with HIV in the Deep South. New diagnoses among African American gay and bisexual men who have sex with men continue to increase.
Despite the heavy HIV burden in the US South and Deep South, SASI’s research demonstrates that federal funding for HIV care and prevention continues to lag behind in the region, primarily due to lower levels of CDC funding. According to a study by Funders Concerned about AIDS, private foundation grants also lag behind with only 12% of private foundation funding for HIV going to the Deep South in 2014.
The Report also highlights recent research identifying contributing factors to the disproportionate HIV burden in the US South and Deep South, including pervasive and multi-layered HIV-related stigma, poverty, high levels of sexually-transmitted infections, racial inequality and bias, and laws that further HIV-related stigma and fear. The Report recommends closing the gap in federal and private funding for HIV prevention and care, along with additional strategies to address the factors fueling the epidemic. These strategies should include the enhancement of current HIV care and prevention models and innovative interventions to reduce the impact of stigma. Continue reading