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AIDS Expert Cites New Opportunities
The Associated Press
  Editorial note from Jules Levin: 26% of HIV is among women in the USA while its 47% worlwide and 55% in SubSaharan Africa. CDC reports 70% of diagnosed AIDS cases from 1986-2000 is among racial/ethnic minotities. In 2000, 32% of reported AIDS cases were white, 47% were black, 19% Hispanic. The proportion of AIDS cases among whites has decreased over time. As of 1996, a greater proportion has been reported among blacks than whites. In 1990, about 53% of AIDS cases reported were among whites, about 30% among blacks, and 18% Hispanic. Of the 770,000 AIDS cases reported to CDC through 2000, 56% were Black & Hispanic, 78% of the women reported to have AIDS were Black & Hispanic, Blacks & Hispanics accounted for 79%of heterosexual IVDUs and those acquiring HIV thru heterosexual sex, Black & Hispanic accounted for 82% of the children reported to have AIDS. Of AIDS cases reported in 2000, 66% were among Black & Hispanic adults & adolescents.
AIDS rates among women (per 100,000) are highest in the Northeast. Certain Souheaster states are second in rates. But Florida has rates as high as Northeastern states. Within each region the rates among Black women is 15-24 times higher than among white women. Rates among Hispanic women are about 7 times higher than among white women. Over 45,000 women 15-44 were reported to be living with AIDS by the end of 2000. These women are of child bearing age and at an age of high fertility. Young black women are acquring HIV through heterosexual & IVDU at increasing rates. Men who give them HIV may be acquiring it through IVDU or MSM.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Treating HIV-positive women early in their pregnancy can dramatically reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to their babies, the government's top AIDS expert said Saturday.
"There's very little reason for an HIV baby to be born in this country," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci highlighted the changing nature of the AIDS epidemic in a speech to a mostly black audience at a local Baptist church.
"It is not a disease of young and middle-aged gay men," he said. "The epidemic has shifted all the way over to where it was not 20 years ago."
He said blacks have been infected with the disease at a rate 10 times higher than whites and other races.
But Fauci said that with proper care and early treatment, doctors can prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from being spread to a fetus in the vast majority of cases.
The rate of infection from mother to child is less than 1 percent when the woman is tested and treated soon in the pregnancy, he said.
"The most tragic thing is when we see a pregnant woman coming in ... right before she's getting ready to deliver, and only then finds out."
Fauci also said women, particularly young minority women, are typically infected in monogamous relationships, not through promiscuous behavior on their part. One in four new cases of HIV-AIDS is heterosexually transmitted, he said.
Deborah Mathis, a nationally syndicated columnist, said blacks have to mount a tougher fight against the epidemic with politicians and public health officials, and must do more themselves.
"I think that this is an emergency and perhaps we ought to consider getting a little ugly again," Mathis said. "We have a lot to fight here. We have to fight our own denial and our own ignorance in our community."
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