LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
AIDS Pandemic Hits Southern United States
Aired July 11, 2003 - 19:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: The AIDS crisis is at the center of the president's trip to Africa. In fact, he's proposing -- or he's promising $15 billion to help fight the deadly disease. Meantime, of course, AIDS continues to spread so fast in the Southern United States that some experts say it resembles African countries ravaged by the disease.
CNN's Jennifer Coggiola has more.
JENNIFER COGGIOLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Meet the newest face of AIDS.
JEANIA DENISE JONES, HIV PATIENT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
I would say I contracted it when I was about 17.
COGGIOLA: Jeania Jones, according to the latest research, fits the latest AIDS profile.
DR. GENE COPELLO, FLORIDA AIDS ACTION: The most prominent description would be individuals who are poor, who are people of color, particularly women, who are at higher risk.
COGGIOLA: Health experts say women in the South with HIV are the fastest-growing segment of the AIDS community.
COPELLO: There are rural areas in the South where we certainly see some of the same situations that one might see in certain parts of Africa.
COGGIOLA: A survey of CDC statistics shows that 40 percent of the people in the U.S. with AIDS are in the South. And that number is growing each year, faster than other regions. In fact, the number of new cases in the U.S. increased 1 percent. But in the South, new cases are up 9 percent.
(on camera): But why? Well, some experts say it's because Southern states simply have more people living there. Others, though, attribute it to poor access to health care. Patients often have difficulty getting access to medication and treatment, and there are often waiting lists for the more expensive drugs.
(voice-over): Jeania Jones says the problem lies in parents and teachers not talking to adolescents, especially young girls, about sex.
JONES: We've got some parents that's not sitting down talking to their kids about sex, or the schools not letting you go in and talk to these kids about safe sex, AIDS and HIV and other venereal diseases.
COGGIOLA: Jeania says her mother never talked to her about sex. If she had, she says, she would not be where she is today.
Jennifer Coggiola, CNN.
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