The Southeastern United States is one of the few regions that still faces a growing rate of new HIV cases. Nearly 50% of all HIV cases are now in minority communities in Southern states—Miami’s HIV infection rates is nearly four times the U.S. average. Miami has become the face of AIDS in America. Consequently, the National Institutes of Health has granted the University of Miami $14 million to study HIV in aging populations.
HIV is no longer a death sentence thanks to modern medicine. Now a treatable condition, general life expectancy has greatly improved over the past two decades. For example, the life expectancy of a 20-year-old with HIV was 39 years in 1996 based on a Kaiser Permanente study, but by 2011, that life expectancy hit 70 years.
Miami is an Exception
The Southern United States faces ongoing challenges, with Miami as the epicenter of HIV and AIDS. With a multitude of challenges from social and economic to social determinants of health, the research effort seeks to improve the situation on the ground, especially with afflicted minority groups.
Jones Weiss pointed out that health disparity is a key issue facing the city in its fight against HIV. A lack of sufficient health care and preventative access persists in the city, including access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication.
About the Miami Center for AIDS Research
The Miami Center for AIDS Research at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine is the first NIH-funded AIDS research center in Florida, a state with the highest number of diagnosed HIV infections and second in estimated AIDS diagnoses of children greater than 13 years of age. The center was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Jones Weiss, Miami Center for AIDS Research
Dr. Margaret Fischl, director of Miami Center for AIDS Research
Dr. Maria Alcaide, director, University of Miami, infectious disease unit