study time

Heterosexuals’ HIV Rates Tied to Their Ability to Pay Rent, Not Race

Dubbed “the first government study of its kind,” a new report from the CDC, released in Vienna at the XVIII International AIDS Conference, says urban heterosexuals in the U.S. are more likely to be HIV-positive if they are poorer; race is not a determining factor.

Maybe Obama’s new AIDS strategy should just lower the poverty line, and then the crisis would be solved!

The study involved a survey in 2006 and 2007 of 9,000 heterosexual adults, ages 18 to 50. They answered questions on a computer about their income, condom use and other details and were given HIV tests. The research was done in high-poverty neighborhoods in 23 U.S. cities. It focused on heterosexuals who don’t use intravenous drugs; that group accounts for about 28 percent of Americans living with HIV. It did not involve gay or bisexual men, who have the highest rates of HIV in the United States. The results: HIV was detected in 2.4 percent of the people who were living below the federal poverty line, which in 2007 was an annual income of roughly $10,000 or less for an individual. The 2.4 percent translates to roughly 1 in 42 people. In contrast, infections were found in 1.2 percent of people in the same neighborhoods who made more money than the federal poverty guideline. That’s 1 in 83 people.

Interestingly, the data might be uniquely American: “Health officials have long believed poverty drives HIV epidemics, but there have been few studies to back that up. Some research actually contradicts that belief: Studies in Tanzania, Kenya and some other African countries actually found that wealthy people were more likely to be infected than the poor.”