Nashville ranks 22nd for highest number of HIV, AIDS cases - WKRN News 2

Nashville ranks 22nd for highest number of HIV, AIDS cases

Posted: Updated: May 30, 2014 10:08 PM
Joseph Interrante, CEO of Nashville Cares, said the number of HIV and AIDS cases in Nashville are on the rise. Joseph Interrante, CEO of Nashville Cares, said the number of HIV and AIDS cases in Nashville are on the rise.
Courtesy: Nashville Cares Courtesy: Nashville Cares
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville made the list of an alarming report.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the top 25 cities in the United States with high HIV and AIDS rates. Nashville came in at number 22.

Experts said the high numbers are linked to several factors including poverty, education, limited access to health care in rural areas and drug abuse.

The southern U.S. has the highest HIV diagnoses rate of any other region, yet the population of the South only accounts for about 37% of the population.

“The South is driving the epidemic in the U.S. We have more cases than we ought to if you look at the portion of the U.S. population that lives in the south,” explained Joseph Interrante, CEO of the non-profit organization Nashville Cares.

Interrante's organization provides education and supportive services to Tennesseans living with HIV and AIDS. He said the number of cases continue to rise.

“Even for example here in Nashville, we have reduced the number of new cases that are reported annually by about 30% over the last five years and that is real progress, but we still have about 200 new cases that are diagnosed each year. So the epidemic is growing,” Interrante explained.

Experts said if it is treated and detected early, an HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence.

Keith Taylor has been living with HIV for 27 years.

“I'm just loving life because I am still here,” said Keith Taylor, who was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 18.

Right now, more than 21,000 Tennesseans are living with HIV or AIDS.

For more information on HIV and AIDS services and prevention visit, click here.

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