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HIV rate still high along coast
Town hall meeting scheduled
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million people are living with HIV in the United States. Twenty percent of those people living with HIV are unaware of their infection, according to
More than 18,000 people with AIDS still die each year in the United States, the CDC reported. According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men are strongly affected and represent the majority of people who have died from AIDS.
“Outside of Atlanta, the Coastal Health District has some of the highest HIV rates in the state,” said Coastal Health District spokeswoman Sally Silbermann.
As of 2007, 31,806 Georgians were living with an HIV diagnosis, according to
Because these rates are alarmingly high, the Coastal Health District and Georgia Department of Community Health, Division of Public Health, will hold an emergency town hall meeting to discuss HIV among gay and bisexual men in Georgia. The discussion will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto at 15 E. Liberty St. in Savannah.
Georgia is only surpassed by New York, California, Florida, Texas and New Jersey for the cumulative total number of AIDS cases since the start of the epidemic in the early 1980s, health officials say.
“Outside of the metro-Atlanta region, incidence rates for HIV and other STDs are among the highest in the state in the Coastal Health District, which includes Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties,” Silbermann said.
Locally, the health district has an HIV/AIDS clinic — Liberty CARE Center — at 1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville. Call 876-5085 or toll free 877-221-6959. CARE center patients’ confidentiality is paramount, confirmed Deidre Howell, administrator for the Liberty County Health Department.
The town hall meeting will help facilitate dialogue, awareness and community mobilization around the urgency of addressing the high rates of HIV and STDs among gay and bisexual men throughout Georgia and specifically in the Coastal Health District, health officials said. The meeting is part of “Taking Control,” a statewide HIV/STD awareness initiative developed by the HIV Unit of the Georgia Department of Community Health, Division of Public Health.
The meeting is open to the public and will consist of a moderated discussion panel that will be facilitated by Leisha McKinley-Beach, Georgia Department of Community Health HIV prevention manager.
For more information, call 912-644-5200 or go to
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