HIV IN OUR COMMUNITY
Every 9 ½ minutes, someone in the United States is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
On average, one person is newly-diagnosed with HIV every day in Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, 4,944 people are living with HIV/AIDS. Working-age men are most likely to contract HIV, and the virus often hinders their ability to maintain employment due to poor health and disability. This makes it difficult to access employer-based insurance, provide for their families, and maintain stable housing and adequate nutrition.
In the U.S., only 77% of persons living with HIV/AIDS are linked to medical care, just 51% are able to remain in care, fewer are prescribed life-saving HIV treatment, and only 28% have a suppressed viral load.
HIV IS A DISEASE OF POVERTY
In the United States, rates of HIV infection are 10 times higher among people who earn $10,000 or less per year compared to people who earn $50,000 or more per year.
Rates of HIV infection in high poverty parts of the United States are similar to rates found in Ethiopia and Haiti.
The monthly out-of-pocket cost for HIV care is $2,000 to $4,700 per person with costs increasing as CD4 immune cells decline and AIDS develops.
African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are infected with HIV at rates significantly higher than whites because of socioeconomic and health care related barriers. Not only are African Americans more likely to become infected with the virus, but they are also most likely to die prematurely
Low-income people with HIV/AIDS are more likely to develop complications and to die sooner compared to those with higher-income living with the virus. Unstable housing, mental illness, food insecurity, lack of transportation, and limited health literacy all prevent people from accessing available HIV health services in our community.
At Tulsa CARES, we engage clients in care by addressing the barriers of poverty
While new infections continue, HIV infection rates have been contained and remained steady since the early 1990s. Prevention efforts of others in our community—the Oklahoma State Department of Health, HOPE, Guiding Right, and countless hours dedicated by testing volunteers and other non-profit providers—help to reduce the number of new infections each year.
Thanks to more treatment options, many people infected with HIV/AIDS now have the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives. As treatments become more effective and accessible, our current system of care now faces new demands: Each year, more and more people rely on service providers like Tulsa CARES for ongoing support to maintain their health as they grow to old age.