Capital News Service

of the Michigan State University School of Journalism

Rising teen HIV rate prompts concern

Bookmark and Share Story as a Google Doc
By QUINCY HODGES
Capital News Service

LANSING – More Michigan teenagers are becoming infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, health officials warn.

The Department of Community Health released a report for World AIDS Day, saying the rate of new cases among 13-to-19 years old in Michigan more than doubled between 2003 and 2007.

Among those teens, 85 percent are African American and almost 62 percent are African American males who had sex with other males.

Michigan is following the national trend of increasing HIV diagnoses among teens.

Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington D.C., said education and community awareness have to be ongoing and renewed with every new generation.

Kates said show that African American behavioral and substance abuse patterns haven’t changed but their sexual networks have a higher prevalence of HIV. African Americans are more likely to come in contact with someone carrying the infection than other racial and ethnic groups, she said.

Bridie Bereza, public information officer for the Kent County Health Department, said “There are a number of reasons for this increase in the state. It’s easier to find partners, people are complacent about getting tested and people tend not to pay attention.”

She said some people don’t know they have the virus and are spreading the infection without knowing it. “Kent County is more of an urban area so we have more people and more cases,” Bereza said.

The county department has an ambassador program, which is “dedicated to social networking and educating young people about all types of diseases, and it’s used to encourage young people to get tested,” she said.

“Our main goals are surveillance, education and testing,” she said. “Resources in West Michigan are strong, so we have a lot of treatment and support options for people who are infected.”

© 2009, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About CNS

CNS reporters cover state government — issues and personalities.



Covering stories of meaning to their member papers, they come in contact with the important newsmakers of the day, from the Supreme Court justices and the governor to members of the Legislature and the people who run the state government departments, to lobbyists and public-interest organizations.



Then they also talk with “real people” — the individual citizens and businesses in communities to get their reactions to what’s happening in Lansing.



In addition to weekly news stories, CNS students write in-depth articles on issues facing state government and their impact on taxpayers.
%d bloggers like this: