Mississippi is “Worst State in America to Have HIV”

November 29, 2011  |  

A Mississippian with HIV/AIDS is almost twice as likely to die from the virus than the average American, and if you are an HIV-positive African-American in the state, the chances of dying are 10 times greater than a white resident.

An article on Salon.com charges that Mississippi not only has the highest new infection rate and greatest percentage of people living with HIV in the country, but also the least interest in helping them, particularly due to racist and homophobic attitudes. Representing only 37.5% of the population, African Americans make up 78% of new HIV infections in Mississippi. Out of a $4.9 million budget, the state only contributes $750,000 to HIV/AIDS programs and an abstinence-education statute bans any programs offering information about condoms to demonstrate how to use them. A lack of anti-discrimination laws also leaves infected individuals vulnerable to discriminatory employment and housing practices.

Advocates are hopeful that the state’s new STD/HIV director, Nicholas Mosca will bring about the necessary change to turn Mississippi’s HIV/AIDS statistics around, but what can a public health advocate do to change the bigoted attitudes underlying the lack of care for these patients?

Are you shocked at the HIV death rate among African Americans in Mississippi? What do you think the state can do to turn this issue around?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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    thats sad, yet scary….Lord help us.

  • N~ T

    Of course I am not surprised about this at all. Mississippi still wants to live with this backwoods mentality. They don’t want to do better which is sad.

    They have high obesity rates.
    Lowest numbers is education.
    One of the highest rates in illiteracy.
    Little or no education or program for HIV.

    When you know better you do better….But in this instance they just choose not to….due to ignorance.

    • Jemel

      Mississippians do WANT better. Yes, there is ignorance. Yes, there are some issues but to think that this overwhelming HIV number is indicative of the state’s mindset is crazy.

      We do want a better education for our children. We do want stronger school systems. I personally reteach my daughter EVERY SINGLE day when she come home from school for about 1 hour. Please don’t judge.

      • guest

        I will support everything you just spoke of. I’m proud to say I’m a Mississippian. I have many family members who are highly educated, including myself. I’m a mother of 3 daughters who are all educated. My oldest is in her 4th year of college, my middle child is enlisted in the  Army, and I have a very articulate 8th grader. My mom has her (masters) and taught for 38yrs.(retired), and my sister is a Superintentent over schools. Therefore, whatever the statics says, doesn’t speak for me, and I’m sure others feel the exact same way!

        • guest

          excuse me STATISTICS (corrected)

      • N~ T

        No disrespect and that statement doesn’t go for every Mississippian. However, the government and some citizens still live on that good ole boy mentality, blacks are lower class citizens. I mean look at the major cities in Mississippi very little progression. Other than gambling there isn’t a whole lot of reasons for folks to move or bring businesses to Mississippi. And the dumb@ss laws don’t help as well.

        Frankly I’m convinced they want to keep everyone right where they are.