How is HIV affecting the United States?
By Choco Chan and Sharon Tang
As HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) hits the top of the chart for being one of the most life-threatening diseases in the world, here’s what you should know about the mechanism working behind this killer:
The sources online are in general very open, including the United States’ Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, Britain’s Public Health and Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. Out of all the top countries with people suffering from HIV, the United States is one of them. With its huge population and severity, data from their official reports were derived and put into charts and infographics in order to enhance a relatively elaborate visualization.
The existence of HIV diagnosis are everywhere in America, with Florida, California and Texas being the three most popular states. In particular, all of the top ten states with the most HIV cases clustered in the Southeastern region of the United States. The larger the state is, the higher the likelihood it is to get more of its diagnosis.
According to the CDC, the heavy burden of HIV in the South is driven in part by unique socioeconomic factors, such as income inequality and poverty.
The Southern region in the United States accounts for 44% of HIV cases in total among its population. And the tragedy behind this epidemic is that African Americans population are severely affected by this disease. It may be because of a lack education and common ground of safety precautions for sexual intercourse, etc.
As we are heading to the end of 2016, let’s review the data collected last year first before we make any comparisons and analysis.
Indonesia was intentionally chosen to be a comparable country with the States because of its similar population. Starting from 2011, Indonesia actually started in a relatively low position when talking about the cases of HIV diagnosis. The States are having a gradual decrease until it got into 42,332 cases in 2013, it started rising again, reaching to the optimum level where the number meets that drastical increase in HIV cases in Indonesia.
The epidemic of HIV infection increased rapidly throughout the 1980s, peaked around in the mid 90s, and then gradually declined. The number of people aged 13 or above living with AIDS went from 323 in 1981 all the way up to 78954 in 1993. As more cases were reported, there was a significant increase in the number of deaths too. In 1981, 122 patients died out of the 323 cases reported; while during the peak year 1993, 45187 deaths were reported, which is more than 57% of the total cases that year. The CDC also associated the peak of new diagnoses with the expansion of the AIDS surveillance case definition in 1993.
Yet, with the introduction of the highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid 1990s, the number of new AIDS cases and deaths declined drastically. By the end of 2001, only 8998 patients were dead out of a total of 24855 cases.
Male-to-male sexual contact has been the most common mode of HIV transmission, there are around 27000 cases each year from 2010 to 2014, followed by heterosexual contact and injection drug use.
Among all the cases reported, African-Americans/Blacks in the United States are the most affected population. In 2010, for example, out of 44940 diagnosed HIV cases, almost half happened among the Blacks, followed by the whites, and then the Hispanic group. Up till now in 2016, African-Americans account for only 13% of the population but 43% of new HIV infection.
Institutionalised racism and poverty are believed to be the two major reasons why black people are more affected by HIV. Although Blacks and Whites are claimed to be equal in the United States, it is not the same in practice. The policies and procedures somehow favour the whites, giving the black society unequal and inadequate access to the tools to prevent and treat the disease. Moreover, the fact that Blacks have the highest poverty rate indicates the lack of education and access to healthcare, which attribute to a higher chance of acquiring HIV.
There is no absolute care of HIV yet in this era, but as human evolves and the emergence of overwhelming data day by day, humans have been able to spot out the majority and the victims, in particular, that would be easily exposed and fall into the trap of this disease. With advocated love and help and integration, this shall not be an unsolvable existential crisis in human history.