HIV/STD Prevention Not Reaching Most Americans
According to figures published in 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STD and HIV rates are at a troubling high across the U.S. with nearly 2.3 million new cases.
STD and HIV rates are on the rise, especially the most common: Gonorrhea, Syphilis and Chlamydia. For high-risk groups these diseases can be fatal although treatments are available.
A recent CDC study on HIV states that only a small group of Americans who could benefit from the HIV daily medication pill, called Prevention Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), receives the pill. According to HIV.gov, there were a total of 500,000 African-Americans and 300,000 Latinos who could have been treated with PrEP, however, only 7,000 PrEP prescriptions were filled for African-Americans and only 7,600 for Latinos during this time period (September 2015 – August 2016.)1 The CDC points out several key factors for this such as poverty, drug use, and unstable housing. The result is a negative effect on access to medication, protection and overall care.
Researchers have also pointed out three main factors contributing to the rise in STD and HIV rates: 1.) Decline of local funding agencies that work on prevention, both at state and local levels, 2.) Budget cuts in public health centers and 3.) A lack of STD and HIV programs in underfunded areas.
As a result, STD/HIV detection and treatments for these populations have been negatively impacted. In areas facing underfunding of public health centers, there is decrease in staffing hours untimely facility closures and little to no treatment options for the public. This places the population at higher risk for infections.
1 HIV GOV. HIV Prevention Pill not Reaching Most Americans Who Could Benefit – Especially People of Color (2018). Retrieved https://www.hiv.gov/blog/hiv-prevention-pill-not-reaching-most-americans-who-could-benefit-especially-people-color
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Defining Health Disparities (2014). Retrieved https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/healthdisparities/default.htm