Moultrie Observer

Local News

December 1, 2008

Area’s HIV/AIDS cases on rise

MOULTRIE — As officials prepared Monday for the 20th World AIDS Day commemoration, a Southwest Georgia health official said that the number of HIV/AIDS cases seem to be increasing in the area.

Through the first 11 months of 2008, the Rural Clinic has treated 83 HIV patients from Colquitt County patients, from the 66 treated in all of 2003, said Jay Saville, the program coordinator.

The clinic is part of Albany Primary Health Care and provides HIV/AIDS treatment to most patients in the area. A small number of patients are treated by private physicians and there are others who are not receiving treatment, Saville said in a telephone interview Monday.

The Rural Clinic treated 84 HIV/AIDS patients last year and had 53 patients in 2002.

“In general we’re seeing slight increases,” Saville said. “It’s still on the increase.”

About 86 percent of patients are black, which mirrors the disproportionate numbers of those infected with HIV across the state.

Georgia reported the seventh highest number of AIDS cases in 2006 with 1,605, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Georgia also reported the eighth highest among the states with 31,965 cumulative cases since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

Male-to-male sexual contact was the predominate method through which the AIDS virus was transmitted, according to the CDC, accounting for about half of cases. That was followed by injection drug use, men who had sex with men and injected drugs, high-risk heterosexual contact and other causes, which included hemophilia, drug transfusions and perinatal exposure.

Chanel Dixon, health services program manager with the Southwest Public Health District, said that the agency also is seeing a slight increase in the number of young adults who are testing positive for HIV/AIDS. Because of the lengthy incubation period for the virus it is evident that those adults contracted it in their teen years.

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