HIV, Atlanta

Stay Safe! Atlanta Ranks 3rd In New HIV Infections Nationwide

The latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled a reality about HIV infections in Atlanta.

FOX5Atlanta reported that the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled a troubling reality about the prevalence of HIV infections in the Southeast, with Metro Atlanta standing out as a focal point of concern. According to the CDC, Metro Atlanta secured the unenviable third position, trailing behind Memphis and Miami, for the highest number of new HIV cases reported in 2021, with over 1,500 cases documented.

Jeff Cheek, the director of HIV Elimination for Fulton County, underscored the severity of the situation, emphasizing, “We’ve seen that HIV is growing in the south, and Atlanta has some of the highest numbers in the south.”

In Georgia alone, new cases accounted for more than half of the 2,371 reported instances in 2021. Cheek highlighted the persistent challenges of stigmas surrounding HIV and barriers to accessing adequate healthcare as key contributors to these alarming statistics.

Larry Scott-Walker, co-founder of Thrive Atlanta, expressed both dismay and determination in response to the CDC findings. “I am jarred by it, I am saddened by it but also motivated… my work is fueled by that,” he said.

Scott-Walker, who received his HIV diagnosis in 2007, co-founded Thrive Atlanta with the mission of addressing the needs of HIV patients, particularly in regions like Georgia, where access to resources is limited.

“We wanted to do something that centered Black culture that centered Black queer men…raising our rates of undetectability in our communities…having stigma-reducing conversations with our friends,” Scott-Walker shared.

As BLACK ENTERPRISE reported in December 2023, recent revelations from a Center for Immigration Studies interview with Richard Lee, a retired DHS adjudicator, shed light on a concerning federal privacy policy upheld by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers. Lee’s accounts suggest that this policy may have endangered the health of many African American women and children due to marriages to African men who concealed their HIV-positive status.

According to Lee, DHS prioritized the privacy of HIV-positive male immigrants over the health of their African-American spouses and potential offspring. Lee stated, “DHS had ruled that privacy was regarded as more important than the health of the woman involved, usually a Black U.S. citizen, any babies born to that couple, and by extension, the public health of Americans generally.”

Between 2003 and 2008, immigrants seeking entry to the U.S. were required to provide proof of a negative HIV test, with positive results potentially barring entry. However, Lee noted that many applicants successfully waived their HIV status. Lee revealed that DHS officers were prohibited from disclosing the husband’s health condition to the wife, despite knowing about it.