HIV/AIDS Cases Among Women May Be Increasing in South Valley Counties
The gap between the number of reported cases of men and women infected with HIV/AIDS in South Valley counties might be closing as a result of a law requiring doctors and labs to report to counties new cases of HIV -- not just AIDS -- the Fresno Bee reports. Since the law went into effect in July 2002, seven women compared to six men were reported HIV-positive in Kings County; an additional 25 men in the county's three male prisons were reported HIV-positive, the Bee reports. In Tulare County, 18 of the 72 reported HIV-positive cases were women, Roberta Torres, Tulare County's HIV/AIDS surveillance coordinator, said. According to the California Office of AIDS, 14.3% of HIV-positive cases across the state are women, but women represent 25% and 53% of HIV-positive cases in Tulare and Kings counties, respectively. Further, women with HIV/AIDS accounted for 11% of cases in Tulare County seven years ago, Torres said. "That's a big number [of HIV-positive]," Torres said, adding, "People are used to thinking that this is a disease that affects either gay men or IV-drug users." The rise in HIV-positive women could be attributed in part to cultural differences -- especially among Hispanics, blacks and Asians, who comprise the majority of Tulare County's population -- that cause some women to not talk about condoms and other safe-sex measures with men, Roberto Bustos, a Tulare County community educational specialist, said (Clough, Fresno Bee, 4/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.