Quantcast
Connect with us

When it comes to AIDS, Georgia is a lot like South Africa — a deadly health care disaster

Published

on

Heightened stigma, decades of substandard health care, lack of access to prevention materials and a public education system in collapse have all combined in the state of Georgia to produce some of the highest rates of HIV transmission and worst outcomes for patients in the developed world.

Atlanta public radio station WABE reported late last week that half of the newly detected HIV infections in the city are in people who have already crossed over into full-blown AIDS, which significantly both lowers their life expectancy and increases the odds that they have infected others with HIV.

ADVERTISEMENT

The city’s busiest hospital, Grady Memorial, has instituted a program to increase HIV detection and awareness. Health professionals now offer everyone who comes to the hospital the option of an HIV test, no matter what they are being treated for.

Since the program was instituted in 2013, the hospital is averaging 2 to 3 new diagnoses per day.

“This is something that keeps me awake at night in Atlanta,” said Dr. Abigail Hankin-Wei, director of Grady’s FOCUS HIV program.

“When we diagnose patients with HIV, the first time we are telling them they’ve been infected with HIV, we know that among our patients at Grady, nearly half of them have AIDS the day we diagnose them,” the doctor explained.

ADVERTISEMENT

People are all too often unaware that they have been infected. They spend the 8 to 10 years it takes for untreated HIV to incubate having unprotected sex and taking no measures to contain or weaken the virus’ ticking time-bomb assault on their immune systems.

Wendy Armstrong, the director of the Ponce de Leon Center — an AIDS care facility in Atlanta — told WABE that young people often carry the virus undetected because, ironically, they’re too healthy to merit close medical scrutiny.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Our massive group out there who are not tested are folks out there who often don’t have primary care physicians because they’re young, and there’s not a need for that and no insurance if they did wish to have a primary care physician,” Armstrong said.

The state of Georgia has fought the expansion of Medicaid recommended under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, millions of people in the state who could be seeking medical treatment are not.

Furthermore, when people are diagnosed, they often do not have the means to afford the medicines that could help manage their condition and lower the amount of virus in their blood.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rates of HIV transmission in Georgia are among the highest in the country and are only going higher. The state’s uneven patchwork of public health programs means that AIDS treatments and survival rates can swing dramatically from one part of the state to another.

The CDC and other agencies have pointed out that HIV patients fare markedly more poorly in overall quality of life and lifespan in the southern states, with Georgia among the nine worst.

A Duke University study found that “The South had the nation’s lowest five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS with 15 percent of people with HIV and 27 percent with AIDS dying within the first five years of their diagnosis.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A 2014 study by the CDC found that merely 30 percent of people in the U.S. with HIV were currently taking steps to treat the virus and slow its attack on their bodies.

In South Africa, studies found that “(i)n 2009, an estimated 17.9% of the adult population was living with HIV. This is estimated to be 5.63 million people, including 3.3 million women and 334,000 children.”

Because health care is only patchily available to parts of the country, HIV-positive South Africans contract deadly new forms of Tuberculosis and other infections. Rates of infection are high and rates of detection are low, meaning that survival rates and prognoses for the infected are poor.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump supporter organizes rally against ‘all the hatred’ — of the president

Published

on

One of President Donald Trump's most fervent supporters is concerned about the rising hatred of a president who routinely launches racist attacks and inspires white nationalist violence.

The Republican president won Indiana County, Pennsylvania, by more than a 2-to-1 margin in 2016, and he continues to enjoy strong support in the rural county that's home to one of the nation’s largest coal-fired power plants, reported the Tribune-Review.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s frantic conspiracy mongering is a distraction from looming recession: columnist

Published

on

Economists have grown concerned that President Donald Trump's trade wars with China will trigger a recession.

Writing in the Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent points out that Trump is scared about the economy -- so he's resorting to lies and spreading conspiracy theories as a distraction.

"As President Trump prepares to run for reelection on the claim that his populist nationalist agenda has been a smashing success, it’s awfully telling that Trump and his advisers have now launched a frantic, multi-front effort to deny glaring truths about that agenda that are all right there in plain sight, for all of us to see," Sargent writes.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

NYPD finally fires cop who killed Eric Garner

Published

on

The New York Police Department announced on Monday that it was firing Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed Eric Garner by placing him in a choke hold in 2014.

James O'Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, made the announcement of Pantaleo's firing during a Monday afternoon press conference in which he recounted the actions taken by the former NYPD officer five years ago.

Although O'Neill did not believe that Pantaleo intended to grievously harm Garner while he was resisting arrest, he said that there was no reason for the officer to continue keeping Garner in a choke hold while he was on the ground and complaining that he was having difficulty breathing.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image