For the first time ever, the number of new cases of HIV/Aids among African Americans is down. The news is especially significant for women, one of the fastest-growing HIV populations nationwide.
Florida shows a 36 percent drop among black women over the past six years.
Transmissions from HIV positive mothers to babies are also down dramatically from 43 cases in 1998 to none reported so far this year.
Florida Health Secretary John Agwunobi credits aggressive outreach efforts.
“I believe it’s a combination of communities rallying together, of churches and families and faith-based organizations across communities, reaching out to pregnant women, making sure they get prenatal care, making sure they get tested.”
But not all the news is good. The numbers are up for white and Hispanic men who have sex with men. The experts blame an increase in methamphetamine use and a growing sense of complacency because new drugs are extending lives.
HIV/Aids Education Counselor Lamar Douglas says it’s still very hard to get through to guys.
“On the whole, they feel sort of invincible, like it can’t happen to them, and it’s still a gay person’s disease in most of their eyes, or they think there’s a cure out there because they look at Magic Johnson, when they don’t know that he’s still HIV positive."
The disease remains a very real and costly concern. More than 100,00 Floridians are living with HIV/Aids.