Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that Atlanta remains in an HIV/AIDS health crisis and ranks fourth in the nation for new HIV diagnoses, WSBTV reports.
The epidemic has continued over the past few years and the CDC things aren’t getting any better for the city, even though in 2017 it was ranked third and has now dropped to fourth.
African-American women and men are especially impacted by the crisis, Georgia Equality director Jeff Graham told Channel 2 Action News.
“I started speaking on HIV issues, before it was HIV,” he said.
African-American teens and young people remain high on the list of those at greatest risk.
“Because for their lives, things have not changed that much. That is the crisis we have,” Graham said.
In fact, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was so rampant, that in 2016 it was likened to a third world country.
“Downtown Atlanta is as bad as Zimbabwe or Harare or Durban,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, the co-director for the Emory Center for AIDS research, said in 2016.
At issue is the limited funding and that is part of what causes the epidemic continues to spread.
Atlanta’s Leadership Responds
Atlanta city leaders are working to figure out how to keep the epidemic from spreading.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Council President Felicia Moore, called for leadership and said the city has to act fast and do a better job to get the word out.
“We as a city, have not been addressing it and making sure we get the word out there,” Moore said.
Moore said many of the city leaders are content waiting for larger health organizations to do the situation under control, adding to the growing problem.
“I think we’ve also kind of ceded to the state as well as Fulton County, who deals with health and human services, hoping they could do it. But we need to make sure as one city in all of Fulton County, where most of the cases lie, that we make sure we make it a priority in the city of Atlanta,” she explained.