Metro Atlanta now ranks fourth in the nation in the rate of new HIV diagnoses, according to the latest data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ranking is up from fifth last year.
Miami, New Orleans and Baton Rouge metropolitan areas ranked first, second, and third when compared to other metro areas in the country.
On Friday, which was World AIDS Day, Mayor Kasim Reed announced that a new medical advisory committee will soon help guide the mayor’s office on tackling public health issues in the city, including HIV/AIDS.
“We’re not health policy experts here at City Hall,” Reed said. “In fact, for the majority of my time, we have deferred to our partners at Fulton County.”
The nine-member committee, which will be comprised of doctors and healthcare providers, will work with state and county health officials on efforts to prevent disease. The chairperson of the committee will act as a Surgeon General to the mayor’s office, Reed said.
John Ouderkirk, medical director at AIDS Healthcare Foundation in midtown Atlanta, said the panel will collect city-specific data to find ways to help better serve the needs of Atlanta residents.
“Unfortunately, I see people that either don’t know they’re diagnosed, or they come into the hospital sick with these opportunistic infections that we haven’t seen since the 80’s, unfortunately,” Ouderkirk said.