HIV/AIDS is a serious and growing problem in the United States – it’s a virus for which there is currently no cure. As a country and a nation of concerned citizens, it is crucial that we identify where the major occurrences of the infection are, what specific populations and/or groups of people are affected, how the virus is spreading, and what we can do to prevent the spread.
As of June 2010, there were a reported 11,611 HIV/AIDS cases within the Hillsborough, Hernando, and Manatee county areas (referred to as the Partnership 6 area). As you can see from the map, there are several densely populated areas within the city of Tampa where there were 51- 100 plus people living with the HIV/AIDS virus.
Going by zip code, you can see that the HIV/AIDS virus affects all areas of Tampa, however the highest number of cases occur in south Tampa, east Tampa, Seminole Heights, Sulphur Springs and Ybor City.
The next map shows the occurrences of HIV/AIDS among racial/ethnic lines. The racial group most affected by HIV/AIDS in Hillsborough County is the black, non-Hispanic population. These numbers coincide with the non-affluent areas of Tampa where most of the non-Hispanic black residents live: east Tampa, Sulphur Springs, and the outskirts of Seminole Heights.
According to the CDC, in 2009, blacks accounted for 48% of reported AIDS cases. The number of black male HIV/AIDS cases reported through 2009 was three times higher than cases for HIV/AIDS among white males. Among black females compared to white females, the rate was12 times higher. For the Hispanic population, the number of cases for both genders increased to 18%.
How is our community contracting and spreading the HIV/AIDS virus?
According to the consensus studies done by the Department of Health, the following numbers were collected along gender lines:
For males in the Partnership 6 populations:
- 67% of the reported cases of AIDS and 75% of the reported cases of HIV were males who were engaged in homosexual relationships.
- 21% of the reported cases of AIDS and 16% of the reported cases of HIV were males who were engaged in heterosexual relationships.
- 7% of the reported cases of AIDS and 5% of the reported cases of HIV were males who were injecting drug users.
- 4% of the reported cases of AIDS and 4% of the reported cases of HIV were males involved in both homosexual relationships and were injecting drug users.
For females in the Partnership 6 populations:
- 81% of the reported cases of AIDS and 76% of the reported cases of HIV were women engaged in heterosexual relationships.
- 18% of the reported cases of AIDS and 22% of the reported cases of HIV were women who were injected drug users.
Knowing the statistics is important and helpful. The next step is to take the information and put it to good use – to identify the communities, and to advocate and educate about the dangers of contracting and spreading the virus. HIV/AIDS information should be distributed in schools and sex education classes, and community leaders should be aware of the risks and needs in their own communities. There may not be a cure for AIDS, but there is certainly is a way to prevent the spread of it.
To learn more about health disparities in our communities and what the Health Coalition is doing to help, check out our website by clicking here: Hillsborough Health Equity Coalition.