In a new story, Science Magazine highlights how Miami and Fort Lauderdale lead the country with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses per capita.
Editor’s note: This article previously appeared in a summer edition of the Sun Sentinel, but SFGN republishes it today as a World AIDS Day reminder that our community is still dealing with HIV at an alarming and unacceptable rate. The author, Johnny Diaz, a Sun Sentinel reporter, is a member of SFGN’s OUT50.
The magazine used 2016 numbers from a report by the Centers for Disease Control which found that the infection rate per capita in Miami was 47 per 100,000 while Fort Lauderdale was 41 per 100,000. Those figures were double those of other big cities including New York City and Los Angeles.
South Florida has long been known for its high infection rate, with Miami-Dade and Broward counties leading the nation in new HIV infections.
Among the efforts to reduce the spread of HIV are public awareness campaigns including provocative billboards and bus ads and social events by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Southern Bureau in Fort Lauderdale.
The Science.com story explored some of the newer efforts that are being done to prevent HIV and AIDS. One example was how the University of Miami will have a mobile clinic traveling in Miami in the next few months to offer testing and PrEP, a preventive HIV pill that is also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012, the blue pill is recommended for people at high risk of infection, such as those having sex with an HIV-positive partner, men having sex with men, or intravenous drug users.
South Florida groups such as Care Resource and Latinos Salud, a Wilton Manors-based nonprofit aimed at providing support and resources for Latino gay men, also provide education and testing at its clinics in Miami-Dade and at nightclubs and gyms.
“The CDC recommends that everyone between the age of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care,” said Trudy Love, a Broward Health outreach coordinator. “People with high-risk factors, such as multiple sex partners, low condom usage and illicit drug use, should be tested more often.”