Poverty and HIV

A  new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that  heterosexuals living in impoverished communities are as much as five times more likely to be HIV-positive than the general U.S. population, regardless of race or ethnicity. In the US, the overall HIV prevalence rate for African Americans is eight times the rate for whites, and the rate for Latinos is three times the rate for whites. Yet in very-low income areas this CDC study found that these disparities do not exist. The study examined 9,000 people in 23 cities, finding that 2.1% of heterosexuals living in high-poverty urban areas were infected with the HIV virus, including 2.4% of those living below the poverty line and 1.2% of those living above it. This is in comparison to the 0.45% rate of HIV infection in the general US population. The authors hypothesize that the findings could account for many of the ethnic and racial disparities in HIV infections in this country, since African Americans are 4.5 times as likely and Latinos four times as likely as whites to live in poverty.