One of the biggest misconceptions about the AIDS epidemic in the United States is that it’s over. This belief is also part of why the disease is so dangerous — and why campaigns like this week’s National HIV Testing Week are so necessary.
Nationally, 1.2 million Americans live with HIV or AIDS and about 50,000 more are diagnosed with HIV each year. But for a more complete view of the virus’ impact, localized data is telling. Philadelphia has a citywide HIV infection rate that’s five times the U.S. national average, and the infection rate in one of the city’s southwestern neighborhoods is comparable to rates in Sierra Leone and Ghana.
A full two-thirds of new HIV infections occur in just 3 percent of U.S. counties, according to newly released statistics from AIDSVu, a data project developed by researchers at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health that maps data about the disease using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. census. These counties are found in both cities and rural areas, but they have one thing in common: a lack of resources.