Perceptions of HIV in Hard Hit Areas

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has released a new and enlightening report from a 12-city project initiated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Department created the plan to enhance HIV prevention, care and treatment in cities with high HIV/AIDS burden. These metropolitan cities represent 44% of the U.S.’s AIDS cases and include New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., as well as others. Because the concentration of HIV/AIDS in these areas is so high, KFF analyzed perceptions and public opinions of HIV/AIDS in these cities compared to adults living elsewhere.

Results: Overall, Black and Latino respondents were more likely than white adults to perceive HIV as a major problem in their community. These aspects include a higher percentage of knowing someone with HIV, being concerned with themselves or knowing someone becoming infected, talking with others about HIV, and naming HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem. However, a larger percentage of Black and Latino respondents noted that they have been tested for HIV compared to their white counterparts.

Furthermore, HIV/AIDS visibility was found higher in these hard hit areas compared to respondents elsewhere (the categories listed above define visbility perception). People in hard hit areas are twice as likely to perceive HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem for the United States than respondents in other regions (10% versus 5% respectively).

These results may show us that because people in hard hit areas are more exposed to HIV/AIDS, they view the problem as greater than other districts. This is seen in one question that asks about media exposure: Blacks and Latinos compared to whites, and adults in these metro cities compared to other areas, say they have seen or read a lot about the AIDS problem in the past year. Future implications include looking at opinions on these exposures and how public health professionals can use these to intervene differently depending on geographic location and population.

You can check out the report here: Feel free to start a discussion on findings and implications!