So even though AFCA only works in African countries and I’ve blogged a lot about developing nations, I want to bring the issue home a little. The United States is huge and industrialized and “modernized” but that hasn’t exempted us from this crisis. America has the highest rate of HIV infections of all the industrialized countries at 0.6%. Sure, 0.6% looks really small compared to the countries AFCA works in but think about what that means: about 1.2 million people are living with HIV in this country. Bringing it even closer to home, a total of approximately 31,220 Pennsylvania residents are living with HIV (according to a 2008 estimate). A lot of people see the HIV/AIDS issue as a problem for developing and third world nations. But recently there has been a significant amount of reports on the problem here in America and especially in urban areas. For instance, some cities have the same prevalence rate as a developing nation in Africa. Just a few years ago Washington, D.C. reported a 3% HIV prevalence rate which is on par with or even more than some developing countries (such as Ghana). D.C. has been making improvements since then but it just goes to show that HIV/AIDS is not a foreign issue.
Here are some great sources if you want to learn more about HIV in the United States: http://aidsvu.org/states/PA (you can also view other state profiles), http://www.avert.org/usa-states-cities.htm (HIV incidences by state), http://www.aidsaction.org/communications/publications/statefactsheets/pdfs/2004/pennsylvania_2004.pdf (specific to PA), http://www.statehealthfacts.org/profileglance.jsp?rgn=40# (you can view other states and compare them to one another on a range of health issues!).