For the third year in a row, Florida still has the highest number of HIV infections in spite of the fact that numerous other states are improving in numbers. Recent data has showed that the Sunshine State is rather dim on the matter of HIV and AIDS occurrences. It’s at an all time high and many are blaming Dr. John Armstrong.
Reports have noted that new cases of HIV have been in decline around the United States within the past years. However, there are a few exceptions, among which Florida holds the highest count. In 2014, there were 6,147 people diagnosed with HIV in the state. Among them, 15 were children under the age of 13 years old. The matter is growing worse.
According to the data, this was the highest number recorded since 2002 in Florida. Counties Miami-Dade and Broward are in the lead with 1,411 and 993 cases respectively. The situation looks grim, as the state also saw to 2,600 cases of AIDS in 2014 as well. In 2013, the situation was not at all better, with 5,377 infections recorded. California was second place with a close number of 5,334 infections. However, in 2014, Florida’s numbers unfortunately surged.
It seems that Gov. Rick Scott and Dr. John Armstrong are widely blamed for the worrying situation of the state. The Department of Health had seen to drastic reductions in staff that is now deemed as one of the reasons for the rise of HIV. Other states have experienced a decline, so it’s no wonder that the increase is being blamed on current circumstances. In fact, those who have worked in the Department of Health’s HIV program believe that the staff reductions have severely damaged their impact.
According to Sen. Oscar Braynon, they are now “cutting just to be cutting”. It shows exceptional neglect of the administration if they are choosing to reduce spending in matters of health. The state has seen a major decline in services by county health departments, and it’s unfortunately how the situation will grow worse. If left untreated, HIV will evolve into AIDS, which is ultimately fatal for the victim.
That is why regular testing, early detection and prevention are crucial to fight the disease.
However, Dr. Armstrong stated that the reduction in staff members did not affect the healthcare’s focus on HIV. All factors, including “surveillance, education, prevention, counseling, testing, care and treatment” for the infection are still the same as they always had been. He does not deny the rise in the number of cases, but states that the blame is not in cut of staff or budget.
Florida will reportedly be spending over $34 million for HIV and AIDS prevention, all thanks to a federal grant.
Image source: avert.org