New HIV Cases Increase In Rural Counties In Virginia
HIV rates in have been steady in recent years. However, new HIV cases have increased in the rural counties of the state.
Daily Express reported that the rise of new HIV cases in rural counties could be caused by lack of proper education about HIV and inadequate HIV testing. The greater number of intravenous (IV) drug use in those areas might also contribute to the increase in HIV diagnosis.
"We need to have education and testing available to our rural populations," Virginia HIV surveillance director Ann Rhoades told Daily Express. "Because there is a stigma attached to HIV sometimes people in small communities aren't willing to get tested."
Among the rural counties in Virginia, Fauquier County has the highest rate of new HIV cases since 2011 with 17 new diagnoses. Culpeper County is second with 10 new HIV cases since 2011, followed by Orange County with eight new cases and Greene County with six new cases.
The Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services (FAHASS) says that a big problem among rural counties is the lack of proper education about how HIV is acquired and how to prevent it. Many of the rural populations are also afraid of being labelled as homosexuals and drug users. The non-profit organization also explained that the disease is not as fatal as it once was, with better treatments available nowadays.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is a virus that attacks and weakens a person's immune system which makes a person more susceptible to different other infections and diseases, according to CAN. The advanced state of immune system damage caused by HIV infection is called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Unprotected sex, sharing of needles, sharing of syringes, infected body piercing equipment, infected tattoo equipment and an infected mother giving birth to a child are the modes of transmission for HIV.