Recent research from the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI) has documented that the US Deep South region (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX) is a significant driver of the US HIV epidemic, with especially high HIV and AIDS diagnosis rates and HIV-related death rates from 2008-2013. In response, SASI recently released State of HIV in the US Deep South, which examines recent data on HIV epidemiology, HIV care and prevention financing, and research literature on factors that predispose the Deep South region to experience a greater HIV burden.
Despite the heavy HIV burden in the US South and Deep South, SASI’s research demonstrates that federal funding for HIV care and prevention continues to lag behind in the region, primarily due to lower levels of CDC funding. According to a study by Funders Concerned about AIDS, private foundation grants also lag behind with only 12% of private foundation funding for HIV going to the Deep South in 2014. The report also highlights recent research identifying contributing factors to the disproportionate HIV burden in the US South and Deep South, including pervasive and multi-layered HIV-related stigma, poverty, high levels of sexually-transmitted infections, racial inequality and bias, and laws that further HIV-related stigma and fear.
The report recommends closing the gap in federal and private funding for HIV prevention and care, along with additional strategies to address the factors fueling the epidemic. These strategies should include the enhancement of current HIV care and prevention models and innovative interventions to reduce the impact of stigma.
Access the full report to learn more.