ATL’s HIV epidemic and what you can do about it

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As an Atlanta resident, I was shocked to hear news reports floating around from reliable sources that there is an HIV epidemic in the city being compared to the stats of third world countries.

Downtown Atlanta is as bad as Zimbabwe or Harare or Durban” according to Dr. Carlos del Rio, co-director of Emory University’s Center for AIDS Research.

Atlanta is one example, but there are still 13 percent of people in the US who do not know they are living with the virus according to the Center for Disease Control. That’s 1 in 8 people to put the numbers into perspective. What better day to bring awareness than today, which is National HIV Testing Day.

Let’s breakdown the facts

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  • In 2014, an estimated 44,073 people were diagnosed with HIV. The annual number declined by 19 percent from 2005 to 2014.
  • Approximately 1.2 million people in the US were living with HIV at the end of 2012. Of those people, 13 percent, or 1 in 8, did not know they were infected.
  • African Americans are most effected by HIV. African Americans are only 12 percent of the US population, but had 44 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. Hispanics/Latinos make up 17 percent of the US population and had 23 percent of all new HIV diagnoses.
  • Gay and bisexual men are most at risk. In 2014, they accounted for 67 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. In the same year, individuals infected through heterosexual sex made up 24 percent of new cases.
  • Young people aged 13-24 comprised 24 percent of new diagnoses in 2014. Young gay and bisexual men accounted for 92 percent of all new HIV diagnoses, aged 13-24. African American gay and bisexual men are even more affected.
  • In 2013, HIV was the 8th leading cause of death for those aged 25-34, 9th for those aged 35-44, and 10th for those aged 45-54.

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Although these stats are staggering and there is no cure, if someone knows their status and receives proper treatment, there is still a high likelihood that those with HIV/AIDS can experience long and productive lives. This is why it’s so important to not be one of the 1 in 8 that doesn’t know their status.

For more information on HIV & Aids visit & find your local testing site via

Follow the hashtag #NationalHIVTestingDay & GET TESTED!


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