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SCI/TECH: CDC Cites Alarming Trends in Heterosexual AIDS

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posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 11:49 AM
A federal study released Thursday showed the number of Americans who contract the AIDS virus through heterosexual sex remains stubbornly high showing no sign of dropping. Heterosexuals now account for about a third of HIV diagnoses with three-quarters of those being among African Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings are an indication that the federal government's war on AIDS may have stalled and that the disease could be poised for a resurgence after declining sharply for much of the 1990s. A total of 9,156 teenagers and adults were diagnosed in 2002 with HIV that resulted from heterosexual contact compared with 8,925 such cases in 1999, according to an analysis of 1999-2002 health data by the CDC. Heterosexuals made up 35 percent of the 101,877 HIV diagnoses included in the study.

The study found that blacks made up 74 percent of the 36,084 heterosexually-acquired HIV cases diagnosed between 1999 and 2002. Sixty-four percent of these new HIV infections were in women. The gender disparity was highest among teenage girls, who accounted for 89 percent of new heterosexually-acquired HIV diagnoses in the 13-19 age group, according to the CDC. Limited access to HIV prevention services and medical care as well as a lack of knowledge about the risks of contracting the virus were cited as factors likely contributing to the racial and gender disparities.

Since first being diagnosed in 1981, AIDS has killed about half a million Americans, most of them believed to be homosexuals and intravenous drug users, though people outside these high-risk groups are now on the rise with about 40,000 Americans contracting HIV each year. Much of the 80's were spent by prominent leaders such as then Republican Senator Jesse Helms denying the disease posed any threat to heterosexuals. Even as late as 1988 Helms continued to lead the Republican fight against research and prevention funding citing that "there is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

With the tide of disease contraction now having turned, one may arguably point to the recent rise among heterosexual AIDS as stemming at least in part from the decade long stall on prevention by Helms and others. An intriguing opinion of some remains "there is not one single case of heterosexual AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to Jesse Helms and the faith based fight against funding research and prevention."

The retired Senator from North Carolina remains active in faith based politics now endorsing Republican Richard Burr seeking the vacating Senate seat of Presidential candidate John Edwards. Helms calls Burr a "good Christian" just like him.

Related Discussions:
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