Most Active Stories
- 'A Christmas Story, The Musical' Adds New Depth to Beloved Characters
- Choral Arts of Chattanooga Presents 'Wonderful Peace' Holiday Concert 12/13
- Non-Verbal & Non-Linear, Jill Burton’s Singing Creates Spontaneous Soundscapes
- Give a meaningful gift through WUTC
- UTC recognized by U.S. News and World Report for work with student veterans
AIDS Epidemic Still Spreading In Rural, Southern United States
By Michael Edward Miller
Michael Edward Miller
Chattanooga, TN – In this segment, we're examining why HIV/AIDS continues to spread in the United States, particularly among African Americans who live in the rural South.
African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in Chattanooga. "In the Hamilton County area and the southeast Tennessee Region, we do have a large portion who are African Americans who are infected," Jerry Evans said. He's the Assistant Executive Director for Chattanooga CARES, a local organization focusing on education, prevention and support for all people affected by HIV. "Of our patients at Chattanooga CARES, about 37 percent are African American."
It's a high percentage considering that, according to the most recent Census data, only about 20% of Hamilton County's population is African American. But it's similar to the situation across the South.
"The South has less than half the overall population [of the United States], but almost half the number of AIDS cases," Andrew J. Skerritt says. He's the author of a new book, Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial and the AIDS Epidemic in the South. "In many cases, where you see a decline in new infections, the South has been going in the opposite direction. The South also suffers because the South has a higher percentage of African Americans, and African American men and women have been bearing a strong burden as far as infection goes."