Thursday, August 18, 2011

Poverty and Heterosexual HIV - CDC Issues a Report

In the August 12, 2011 issue of the Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC outlines results of a study examining heterosexual HIV in 25 metropolitan areas-- Philadelphia included. The study was done as an anonymous survey, asking people in areas with known high rates of HIV about various demographics facts and their HIV status. What they found were HIV rates:
- twice as high in those who hadn't completed high school (2.8% vs. 1.2%)
- twice as high in unemployed (2.6% vs. 1.0%)
-twice as high when living in poverty (2.3% vs. 1.0%)
-similar among men and women
-by race/ethnicity were not as different as it is in the general population
It was NOT associated with different levels of crack cocaine use, exchanging sex for drugs or money, or rates of STDs once the statistics were controlled for differences in poverty.
The editors, in tying together HIV and poverty as the most important factors noted that "Low SES and other adverse social conditions can increase the risk for HIV infection through sexual exploitation, marital instability, unstable sexual partnerships, poor mental health, substance abuse, and limited access to health care and preventive services. In addition, socioeconomic segregation confines low-SES persons to sexual networks with high underlying rates of HIV and other STDs, thereby further increasing their risk for HIV infection". Their conclusions were that future prevention efforts need to especially focus on those who live in poverty in areas with high rates of HIV.
Philadelphia's own, Dr. Kathleen Brady and Althea Kirkland, of AACO are cited at the end of the report as contributors.


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