City is planning to increase awareness and education about AIDS


October 04, 2007|By John Fritze

Baltimore officials said yesterday that the city will join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase awareness and education about AIDS.

Arts, business and civic leaders met at City Hall for a workshop to talk about ways to reduce the incidence of HIV and AIDS in the city. City health officials said the Baltimore metropolitan area has the second-highest rate of AIDS cases in the country, behind Miami.

"We have a serious problem in Baltimore," Mayor Sheila Dixon said before the meeting. "It is a crucial issue that we have to stay focused on."

State health data indicate there were 1,120 new HIV cases and 711 new AIDS cases between mid-2004 and mid-2005. As of December 2006, nearly 16,000 people were living with HIV or AIDS in the city, health officials said.

"While we are succeeding in the treatment of HIV as a medical condition, we are not doing enough for prevention," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the city's health commissioner. "Everybody understands that our number of new cases is unacceptably high."

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