A new report says Alabama's HIV and AIDS rate has dropped slightly, but its rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have gone up.
The report from the Center for Demographic Research at Auburn University at Montgomery says there were 12.27 people per 100,000 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2012. That's down from 13.75 in 2011. A similar decline occurred with the diagnosis of syphilis, which went from 15.55 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 14.85 in 2012.
More than 25,000 people are gathering in Washington, D.C. this week for the 19thAnnual International AIDS Conference. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the U.S. will host the conference.
“The reason that the U.S. could not have the conference is because we had a ban on allowing people who are HIV-positive into the United States,” says Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama. “And we were one of the few countries that had that ban.”
Thirty years ago, we first began hearing about AIDS — then a mysterious, unnamed disease that was initially thought to be a rare form of cancer that affected gay men. Scientists soon learned that it was neither of those things, and, in fact, it was a virus that everyone was vulnerable to.
That vulnerability became apparent when, in 1991, basketball superstar Magic Johnson announced that we would retire immediately because he had contracted HIV.
With the largest HIV epidemic in the world, no nation has been more affected by HIV and AIDS than South Africa, but the country has also had one of the most conflicted responses to the epidemic.
A decade ago, as the virus was spreading rapidly, then-President Thabo Mbeki was questioning the link between HIV and AIDS. His health minister was advocating the use of beetroot, garlic and lemon juice to treat it.
Now, years later, South Africa is trying to make up for lost time. The nation is attempting to put in place a cutting-edge HIV treatment and prevention program.