ATLANTA. HIV rate among gay Atlanta men as high as 1 in 2

Two recent studies show the staggering reach of HIV in metro Atlanta, documenting how the region leads other large urban areas in HIV diagnoses and how as many as 1 in 2 gay men in some counties are HIV-positive.

The South – and its mix of poverty, unemployment, lack of education and health insurance – has long been a hotbed for HIV. And Georgia – along with metro Atlanta – are among the leaders in HIV rates in study after study.

A new report from the Big Cities Health Coalition highlights the problem – again. Among 28 large urban areas studied, Atlanta's rate of HIV diagnoses was the second highest, behind only Washington, D.C. The region's rate is also five times higher than the national average, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

HIV diagnoses rate in Atlanta (72.5 out of 100,000) was higher than every other city studied, with the exception of Washington, D.C. (91.4 out of 100,000). The U.S. average is 13.4 percent.

Other indicators in the coalition's report were just as startling:

  • Atlanta had the highest AIDS diagnoses rate of all the cities studied but Washington, D.C. The national average is 8 AIDS cases per 100,000 people. The rate in Atlanta and Fulton County is 30.4, with Washington, D.C. at 48.9.
  • Atlanta's HIV-related mortality rate is nearly four times the national average and the second-highest of cities included in the study. Atlanta's rate is 8.1 per 100,000 people, compared to a U.S. average of 2.1. Long Beach, Calif., ranked highest with a rate of 16.7 HIV-related deaths per 100,000 people.
  • The rate of people living with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta and Fulton is 1,613.3 per 100,000 people – nearly six times the national rate of 295.1. That's third behind Washington, D.C. (2,714) and San Francisco (1,903.4).

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