US: Atlanta’s alarming HIV/AIDS epidemic reminiscent of New York in the ’80s

Georgia ranks second among U.S. states in the rate of new HIV diagnoses, behind Louisiana, and Atlanta ranks fifth among metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.

The issue is particularly acute for young gay and bisexual black men. Grady Memorial, one of the nation’s largest public health hospitals, also found alarming numbers, through a grant-funded project that allowed its staff to offer opt-out HIV screening to all patients entering its emergency room: About half the patients diagnosed with HIV already had clinical AIDS. This means they had the virus for years and not received the sort of treatment that would prevent further deterioration of their immune systems.

“None of my colleagues [nationally] are seeing those numbers,” said Dr. Wendy Armstrong, a researcher at Emory University’s Center for AIDS Research. “It’s appalling.”

Despite the rise, the area is finding new new public- and private-sector efforts to bring the area in step with other large cities nationwide that have kept the virus and disease in check.   Read more via Aljazeera