Press Release

SASI Releases Updated Report on the HIV Epidemic in the South: Calls for State of the South Task Force

November 28, 2012

Durham, N.C. -- The Southeastern United States continues to experience the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS infections in the country confirms an updated research report, SASI Update: The Continuing HIV Crisis in the US South, released Wednesday by the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI). The report highlights 9 southern states that have been particularly hard hit by the epidemic: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and (East) Texas.

"We call on the President's Office of National AIDS Policy to convene a State of the South Task Force including leading administration officials across federal agencies, leading state officials, private sector partners, people living with HIV in the South, and their providers to develop an action plan directed at the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southeast," said Carolyn McAllaster, Director of the Duke AIDS Law and Policy Project and SASI. "As the report highlights, the South faces an urgent need for resources to fight the epidemic as the South has the highest rates of both new HIV diagnoses and HIV-related deaths in the country."

According to the report, commissioned by SASI and compiled by the Duke Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, 34 percent of new HIV infections in 2010 were in the 9 targeted southern states, which contain only 22 percent of the US population. In 2010, 9 of the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest HIV diagnosis rates were in the targeted states, ranging from very large areas such as Miami, FL, to mid-size areas such as Jackson, MS. Nine of the 10 US states with the highest rates of death due to HIV are in the South, and all 9 targeted states are among the 15 states with the highest HIV death rates.

SASI representatives have shared report findings with Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. "We are very pleased with recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) funding that is focused on improving HIV testing and engagement in care in 8 states, including 6 southern states (GA, LA, MS, NC, TN, VA,)" said Joseph Interrante, Chief Executive Officer of Nashville CARES. "We need to do more, however, and we are waiting for a response to our call for a task force focused on the Southern HIV epidemic."

SASI was launched in 2011 by the Duke AIDS Law and Policy Project in collaboration with HIV/AIDS service providers, advocates, and people living with HIV and AIDS throughout the South. See for more information.

Download this press release here: SASI Releases Updated Report on the HIV Epidemic in the South- Calls for the State of the South Task Force.

This article was provided by Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative.

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