HIV AIDS; Statistics Renew Call for More Awareness New Reports Show a Major Jump in the Number of Cases Statewide. Officials Say We're Catching Up with Old Cases, a Result of New Tracking Methods. Some Say It's a Warning Sign for Communities to Refocus Attention on Prevention

By Cox, Jeremy | The Florida Times Union, August 31, 2008 | Go to article overview

HIV AIDS; Statistics Renew Call for More Awareness New Reports Show a Major Jump in the Number of Cases Statewide. Officials Say We're Catching Up with Old Cases, a Result of New Tracking Methods. Some Say It's a Warning Sign for Communities to Refocus Attention on Prevention


Cox, Jeremy, The Florida Times Union


Byline: JEREMY COX

Aleathea Morrison doesn't try to hide her illness. The Southside woman tells anyone who will listen about her struggle with HIV/AIDS and how to avoid getting infected.

For years, she was a living, breathing statistic. But there was just one problem with that: She hadn't become a statistic yet.

State epidemiologists say that a 40 percent leap in new HIV reports in Florida this year is largely driven by people like Morrison, who have been infected for years but never counted -- until now.

The new disease-tracking method does not indicate that a new wave of infections is sweeping across the Sunshine State, they say.

The state had 5,099 new infections through July, up from last year's January-through-July total of 3,605, according to provisional Florida Department of Health numbers obtained last week by The Times-Union.

Another new surveillance method has resulted in a similar boost in new AIDS reports this year. The state counted 3,114 new cases, a 38 percent jump.

Many of the "new" HIV and AIDS cases are actually more than a decade old, but state epidemiologists only have been able to track them since November 2006. The numbers provide the clearest picture yet of the infection's spread in Florida, but that won't last for long.

Next month, the state plans to unveil a new measure developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based on estimates of when people became infected with HIV. The same measure prompted the CDC to announce earlier this month that the number of new HIV infections nationally is about 56,300 a year, 40 percent higher than originally thought.

Unlike the existing system, which only tracks when a person was diagnosed with HIV, the new CDC method uses a blood test and sophisticated statistics to estimate when that person became infected.

The number of new infections each year in Florida has held steady for several years at 4,000, a figure that one state official called a "rough stab."

"Now we think that number is going to be higher just as the CDC's number is higher," said Spencer Lieb, a senior epidemiologist with the Bureau of HIV/AIDS for the Florida Department of Health.

With 227 new HIV cases through July, Duval County has reported 10 percent more infections this year than last year. The county has the sixth most HIV cases in the state.

Like the rest of Florida, much of the rise in Duval can be attributed to the new surveillance techniques, said Bob Harmon, director of the Duval County Health Department.

Still, he said, "Bottom line is these are unacceptable numbers. And we must work harder to control this epidemic."

BELOW THE RADAR

Aleathea Morrison's plight with HIV/AIDS offers a glimpse behind the recent jump in reported cases of the infections in Duval County and Florida.

To be sure, hers is not a new case. Morrison was diagnosed in 1988. Her T cell count was below 200, an indication that her HIV had progressed to AIDS. A prostitute and crack addict, she had been living with the infection for a long time, probably years, without knowing it.

"I really didn't care," Morrison, 43, said of her dire diagnosis. "I was at the bottom."

Her life-changing moment came a few years later, shortly after the birth of her daughter. Morrison, who had gone into labor while lying in a street during a crack binge, resolved to clean up her life for her daughter's sake.

Morrison found God. (Her voice mail begins, "Praise the Lord! You have reached a saved, sanctified and filled-with-the-Holy Ghost woman of God.") And she devoted her life to helping others with the affliction. She is a member of HIV/AIDS support groups and serves as an outreach specialist for River Region Human Services, a Jacksonville drug-rehabilitation center.

Florida didn't begin tracking HIV infections until July 1997 and, even then, only new reports were counted, Lieb said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

HIV AIDS; Statistics Renew Call for More Awareness New Reports Show a Major Jump in the Number of Cases Statewide. Officials Say We're Catching Up with Old Cases, a Result of New Tracking Methods. Some Say It's a Warning Sign for Communities to Refocus Attention on Prevention
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.