Daily Press (Newport News) (09.19.2013)
The Emory University AIDSVu study reported that the 23607 ZIP code in Newport News, Va., had the highest concentration of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the region. AIDSVu ranked the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 20th among 103 US metropolitan areas. Emory University Professor of Epidemiology Patrick Sullivan explained that the AIDSVu study aimed to identify areas with greatest need for early HIV diagnosis and treatment interventions. HIV incidence in the city of Newport News was 538 per 100,000 people, and more than 500 of Newport News HIV cases occurred in ZIP code 23607. This could be due to the fact that the Newport News City Jail was located there.
Dr. Nzinga Teule-Hekima, director of the Peninsula Health District, stated that public health officials were aware of the high concentration of HIV/AIDS cases. Incidence of all STDs and chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes also were disproportionately high in the neighborhoods because residents lacked access to medical care.
According to Virginia Department of Health HIV Surveillance Assistant Director Celestine Buyu, AIDSVu made state-reported HIV/AIDS data more accessible to communities. AIDSVu compiled health department data to break down incidence by city, county, gender, race, and age, and to provide corresponding data on poverty and education levels. Sullivan noted that only 75 percent of 23607 ZIP code residents had a high school diploma or the equivalent. Rates within the ZIP code also varied widely by race and gender, with higher HIV incidence among blacks and among men having sex with men.
AIDSVu began collecting state-level data in 2010, expanded to include three cities in 2011, and analyzed incidence at the census tract level in 2012. In 2013, the study included MSAs and began to produce HIV/AIDS rate and numbers.
HIV/AIDS incidence by ZIP code was available at http://www.AIDSVu.org.