New online tool to track HIV/AIDS cases

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Richmond and Petersburg are listed as "hot spots" on a new online website that tracks the prevalence of AIDS and HIV nationwide.

It's a growing problem Dennis Buie knows about first hand.

"I've been HIV positive for 12 years now. I contracted this infection thorough sexual activity," said Buie.

Buie is now working to help stop the spread of HIV-AIDS. That's part of the purpose behind a new national website called the national HIV-AIDS atlas.

A Washington D.C. group called the National Minority Forum just launched the online atlas. It lays out the intensity of AIDS and HIV cases on a county or city level - nationwide. You can search by gender, age, and ethnicity.

The site places Petersburg and Richmond in its top 20 category, nationwide, when it comes to prevalence for HIV cases. Not surprising to members of a local outreach group that focuses on HIV and AIDS prevention.

"Since April 19 last year to the end of February this year in both Richmond and Crater Health District, we've diagnosed 17 people with HIV infection - 12 of them being from Richmond district and 5 from Crater District and out of those 17 people at least 11 of them were below the age of 26," said Juan Pierce, Minority Health Consortium Inc.

Pierce says he's seeing a spike in the disease among men having sex with men.

"Especially young people. A lot of them don't realize the seriousness of HIV and they're having unprotected sex," Pierce said.

Pierce encourages people to practice preventative measures such as, abstaining from sex, consistent condom use, and not sharing needles. The group that launched the site it will also help better direct funds for services nationwide.

Stats used to track the prevalence of HIV and AIDS on the site are based on 2006 numbers from the CDC. If you'd like a closer look at this online atlas, click here.

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