Thirty-plus years after AIDS became a familiar, dreaded and often grossly misunderstood acronym in the U.S. and around the world, better treatment and better understanding are lowering the rate of new HIV diagnoses.
Except among young people.
Georgia Health News reported last week that while the number of new diagnoses of HIV was falling steadily and significantly among all Americans between 2008 and 2014 — the latest year for which statistics are available — new diagnoses among youth increased almost 11 percent. That’s approximately the same rate by which the overall number of new cases was going down, GHN reported.
Georgia’s Emory University will be among the institutions to share $24 million from the National Institutes of Health to create a research network and develop new services and strategies for stemming this alarming trend. There will be three national “research hubs” in the network, of which Emory and the University of North Carolina will form one.
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Dr. Patrick Sullivan, an Emory specialist in HIV, told the magazine that researchers will work on, among other things, new technologies, including mobile apps, to reach young people at risk of, or already diagnosed with, HIV/AIDS.
This surge in HIV diagnoses is especially troubling in Georgia, which ranks nationally behind only the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Florida and Maryland in the rate of new diagnoses, with Atlanta ranking 7th among major American cities in new diagnoses overall.
This is not the kind of ranking on which anybody wants to be in the top 10.
One CEO of a group of Atlanta-area health centers providing HIV testing and care told GHN, “We do see young men in their early twenties coming to clinic first time to care who are extremely ill. Based on disease progression, they were probably infected several years ago.”
With the overall rate of HIV infection dropping, there’s no need for young people to be at increased risk. The NIH grant and research network is a life-saving endeavor.
Quiet on the set
This Georgia movie business might actually start amounting to something.
With the near completion of the latest phase of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, that filmmaking complex becomes the second largest in the country. (The biggest, we’re told, is in some town out West.)
Atlanta Business Chronicle reported last week that completion of the Pinewood complex will make it a facility of almost one million square feet, including 361,000 square feet of sound stages and 185,000 square feet of workshop space.
Georgia is already, according to the Chronicle, the “unofficial home” of Marvel Studios, which produced, among other action thrillers, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Spiderman: Homecoming” in the state. Four more Marvel action films are already slated for filming here, according to the report.
Marvel is a subsidiary of an outfit called Walt Disney Studios. The Georgia filmmaking industry is definitely competing in the big leagues.