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The States with the Most HIV Deaths

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Much progress has been made in understanding, treating, and controlling the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus since it was first identified nearly 35 years ago. Despite these developments, there are still places in the United States that see high numbers of deaths from HIV.

Much progress has been made in understanding, treating, and controlling the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus since it was first identified nearly 35 years ago. Despite these developments, there are still places in the United States that still see high numbers of deaths from HIV.

Increased awareness of how HIV is spread has resulted in fewer infections, including no infections caused by work exposure of health care workers since 2008. Antiretroviral drugs allow those who already are infected to reduce their viral load, therefore their contagiousness. But transmitting HIV to others still happens despite these precautions, including from mother to baby.

In 2010—the latest year for which data are available—there were 8,369 deaths from HIV in the United States, not counting US territories. The government estimates 47,500 people became newly infected that year. The following 10 states (or territory, in one case) had the most deaths from the virus that year. Numbers and additional information was gathered by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 State HIV Prevention Progress Report.

Number of Deaths: 300

Illinois has an estimated 31,884 people living with HIV in the state. The CDC says that HIV is a disease most concentrated in cities with populations of 500,000 people or more, and with the third-most populated city in America in Chicago, it’s not surprising that Illinois is considered to have a high prevalence of HIV.

Number of Deaths: 316

Maryland has the highest rate of people who have ever been tested for HIV (except for Washington DC), with 52.9% of the population having been tested at least once in their lifetime. The hope is that, as more and more people become tested, infections will be identified sooner, reducing transmissions and increasing the likelihood of medical intervention.

Number of Deaths: 328

North Carolina is the first of several Southern states that have issues with HIV mortality. The state is among the top in the nation for reducing the number of HIV diagnosis that are stage 3 (AIDS) within 3 months of diagnosis. There are roughly 24,500 people living with HIV in North Carolina.

Number of Deaths: 334

For every 100,000 people in Puerto Rico, slightly more than 21 die from HIV, making it the second highest mortality rate in the nation, behind Washington DC. Of the people in Puerto Rico who die from HIV, most contracted the disease through injection drug use than any other type of transmission. According to the KFF, Puerto Rico does not receive any federal funds for programs dedicated to HIV/AIDS.

Number of Deaths: 378

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A melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, New Jersey is struggling with testing and early diagnosis of people who do not identify as white, Hispanic/Latino, or black/African American. Nearly 11% of New Jersey’s population does not identify in any of these categories, and it’s these ethnicities that the state is having trouble reaching. New Jersey did not receive any funding from the Office of Minority Health in 2013, but still received $124 million in HIV/AIDS program funding from the federal government that year.

Number of Deaths: 495

Like other Southern states, Georgia struggles with diagnosing people with HIV early enough to provide meaningful treatments and prevent mortalities. However, Georgia is making strides in improving the total percentage of the population getting tested for HIV, as well as making contraceptive and STI services available to minors.

Number of Deaths: 742

California is home to 12.1% of the country’s population and 12.8% of the country’s HIV-infected population; in 2010 there were 111,666 people diagnosed with HIV in California. The state is among the leaders in the country when it comes to retaining people with HIV in medical programs, as well as working with those in medical programs to increase their viral load suppression.

Number of Deaths: 773

In 2011, Texas had the second largest amount of new HIV diagnosis in the nation with 5,044 new cases. There are more than 64,000 people living with HIV in Texas, which received roughly $210 million in federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs in 2013. Texas and other Southern states with higher rates of HIV/AIDS are seeing a different population of patients compared to the traditional urban, male profile; According to the Duke Law’s AIDS Legal Project, new diagnosis in the South are attributed to rural, female, black/African American, heterosexual women. Stigmas and lack of access to care affect the disproportionate mortality rate in these communities.

Number of Deaths: 990

New York has the second-highest rate of adults and adolescents living with HIV, with 810 per 100,000 people. Only DC’s rate is higher (2,704 per 100,000), and the national average is 339 per 100,000. New York also has the highest rate of people with HIV incarcerated, with 5.5% of the inmate population infected with the virus. The state received nearly $500 million in funding of AIDS/HIV programs in 2013, the most in the nation.

Number of Deaths: 1,068

Eleven percent of all people diagnosed with HIV in 2011 were in Florida, which is home to only 6% of the U.S. population. Florida is home to large minority populations, and according to the government blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos have shown to be more at risk for contracting HIV than whites. Testing and late-stage diagnosis disparity between different ethnic groups in the state highlight some of the reasons Florida struggles with dealing with the virus. Florida’s death rate of 29 per 1,000 people diagnosed with HIV is the fifth-highest in the nation in 2010.


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