A study presented at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle found HIV incidence rates among women in select U.S. cities, including Newark, have reached levels seen in sub-Saharan Africa.
"It's sort of like the forgotten epidemic," said Sally Hodder, the study's New Jersey-based leader. The project involved almost 2,000 women in Newark, Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, New York City, and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; most participants were black. The women's HIV incidence rate was five times the current federal estimate for black women overall.
In poor, urban areas, HIV rates have remained "rock-stable," said Hodder, director of the HIV/AIDS program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey Medical School.
Lenore Shamberger-Jackson, a nurse at Newark's Broadway House for HIV/AIDS patients, noted that women tend to put others' needs before their own -- sometimes to their detriment. "There's a lot of factors that go against us," added Gloria Horton, director of social services at Broadway House.
A Newark woman who declined to give her name said too many people at high risk for HIV prefer to not get tested. "People just really don't want to know, and I can appreciate that," said the woman, who has been living with the disease for around two decades. "But I'm living proof it's best to know, especially now, because there are treatments."
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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