Study finds increase in rate of HIV infections
A recent report released by the CDC has experts in the HIV community alarmed.
The statistics reflect a significant increase in the number of infections of gay and bisexual African-American men between the ages of 13-29.
The report cites a lack of sex education for the demographic as one of the main reasons for this increase.
Legacy Community Health Center spokesperson Randall Ellis said that the report was disturbing, and that he was discouraged to find that, despite the outreach efforts, HIV infection rates across all demographics have either remained steady or increased.
“We have to get the message out to the African-American community, that this is a real disease that is having devastating effects in their community,” Ellis said.
“The black community has not been as receptive to the fact that when you have unprotected sex of any fashion with a man or a woman, you are putting yourself at risk for getting the HIV virus.”
Ellis said that he was concerned because the report indicated a slight increase in infections in heterosexuals, accounting for 27 percent of new HIV infections. “The US infection rate holds steady at 50 thousand people annually,” said Ellis.
“We desperately need lawmakers to provide funding so they can get out the message.”
But his organization plans to refocus their efforts on the African–American community because of the dramatic increase in infection rates.
“There has been a slight increase (of infections in heterosexuals), but we are mostly concerned with the significant increase in the African-American community,” Ellis said.
Ellis emphasized to everyone that abstinence and condoms are always the safest options against any STD infection. Plus, he wants the college community to reach out and learn more about the the disease because it is affecting their age group the most, especially among African-Americans.
“If anyone wants more information on HIV or any STD, please contact the Legacy Community Health Center,” he said. “We have specialists that are trained on all you need to know about this growing concern.”
The Legacy Community Center is situated in the Montrose area and can be contacted at (713) 830-3000 for more information.