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Erica Demarest AIDS and HIV: Chicago by the numbers
Windy City Times charts and maps linked below
by Erica Demarest
2011-11-09

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Between 1990 and 2010, the city of Chicago saw a 39 percent decrease in newly reported AIDS diagnoses, with the number of new annual cases dropping from 1,024 to 621.

The community areas in which newly diagnosed AIDS patients live have shifted fairly dramatically over the past two decades. In 1990, most new diagnoses were reported on the North Side, with almost every neighborhood north of the Loop experiencing high counts.

By 2010, however, these numbers had thinned significantly with one exception: the far North Side lakefront neighborhoods.

"Edgewater, Uptown and Rogers Park have always been epicenters of the epidemic," said John Peller, vice president of policy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "It's hard to explain. I think that's where many [ gay ] people choose to live for a variety of reasons." Gay people have consistently been one of the largest groups to contract AIDS, Peller explains.

As rates on the North Side have diminished—in some cases by as much as 88 percent—rates on the South and West Sides have remained stagnant or grown.

The West Side's North Lawndale neighborhood saw a 22 percent increase in AIDS diagnoses rates, while South Side neighborhoods like Great Grand Crossing and South Chicago have seen increases as high as 30-50 percent. In West Englewood, the diagnosis rate had more than doubled by 2010.

"There are areas on the South and West Side where there's a really strong tie to poverty," Peller said. " [ HIV ] is in a lot of ways a symptom of a problem. The problem is poverty, lack of economic opportunity, high incarceration rates, joblessness, schools that aren't meeting the needs of the students … . Throw racism and homophobia in there, and it's really a perfect storm in a lot of ways."

HIV Diagnosis Rates

It is important to note that medical data from the 1980s and early 1990s does not differentiate between AIDS and HIV. All infections, rates and diagnoses are listed simply as 'AIDS.' More recent data, however ( including the 2010 datasets used in this report ) , split HIV and AIDS into two separate categories.

In 2009 and 2010, the city of Chicago reported 991 new HIV diagnoses, in addition to the 621 AIDS diagnoses. While there are several small differences, the distribution of HIV and AIDS diagnoses across the city is remarkably similar.

Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown, Lawndale, Garfield Park, West Englewood, and the South Shore were particularly hard-hit with rates as high as 96 diagnoses per 100,000 people.

Chicago Department of Public Health Assistant Commissioner Chris Brown said at an AIDS-related panel last month these rates are on the decline.

"There is some good news that we're seeing here in Chicago," he said. "Between 2005 and 2009, we've seen a 19 percent decrease in the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections. In many of the populations, we're starting to see declines—not huge, and some leveling—but we're starting to see a good trend."

Brown cautioned, however, that rates remain high for youth, African American communities, and men who have sex with men.

Chicago Service Providers

To map out HIV/AIDS service providers in the city of Chicago, Windy City Times used data from the Illinois Department of Public Health in conjunction with the Center on Halsted and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

This data does not differentiate between service providers that focus solely on HIV/AIDS care and prevention, and those that offer HIV/AIDS services as part of general programming ( e.g. community health centers, free clinics ) .

Due to Ryan White funding stipulations, care centers are fairly evenly distributed throughout Chicago according to where HIV/AIDS patients live. This does not mean, however, that patients always access care in their own neighborhoods.

"Because of stigma, there are people living with HIV who absolutely do not want to get care in their neighborhood," Peller said. "They will go all the way across town or from south to the north, or will travel a really long distance to get medical care because they don't want to be seen walking into the 'AIDS place' by people in their neighborhood."

Peller said that while service centers are distributed well, there are "absolutely not" enough providers to meet the growing needs of an expanding population. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago estimates that half of the city's HIV-positive population is not accessing medical care; HIV often takes a backseat to pressing needs like food, shelter and employment.

Funding is a continual problem. "Frankly, there's just not enough HIV money out there to provide all the services that people with HIV need," Peller said. "It's more and more important every year that non-HIV providers are providing services to people with HIV."

[ Earlier this year Windy City Times charted HIV and AIDS cases in Chicago by demographic groups. Those statistics are available in the online archives, in the April 20, 2011 edition. ]

Average Annual AIDS Diagnosis Rate ( per 100,000 ) Chart by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/BLUEREVISED-Chart.pdf

Rate per 100,000 population using 1990 and 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

*HIV prevalence represents people living with HIV infection at any stage of disease.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

1989-1990 Average Annual AIDS Diagnosis Rate by Community Area Residence at Time of Diagnosis,

as of 08/25/2011 at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/BLUE_1989AIDSwithstreetnames.pdf

To protect privacy, number and rates are suppressed if count is <5.

Rate per 100,000 population using 1990 U.S. Census population figures.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Map by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

2009-2010 Average Annual AIDS Diagnosis Rate by Community Area Residence at Time of Diagnosis,

as of 08/25/2011 at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/BLUE_2009AIDSsstreetnames.pdf

To protect privacy, number and rates are suppressed if count is <5.

Rate per 100,000 population using 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Map by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

People Living with HIV/AIDS in 2009 by Community Area of Current Residence, as of 08/25/2011 at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/RED-chart.pdf

Rate per 100,000 population using 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

*HIV prevalence represents people living with HIV infection at any stage of disease.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Chart by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

People Living with HIV/AIDS in 2009 by Community Area of Current Residence, as of 08/25/2011

with an overlay of service providers at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/RED_ServiceProvidersWstreets.pdf

Blue dots represent locations that offer services to HIV/AIDS patients. These include: HIV/AIDS-specific organizations, as well as organizations that offer HIV/AIDS services or programs ( e.g. community health centers ) .

Rate per 100,000 population using 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

*HIV prevalence represents people living with HIV infection at any stage of disease.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

HIV/AIDS Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Service Provider Data Source: Illinois Department of Public Health, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Center on Halsted.

See list of locations indicated by dots at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/AIDSCHART110911.pdf

Map by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

2009-2010 Average Annual HIV Infection* Diagnosis Rate by Community Area Residence at Time of Diagnosis, as of 08/25/2011 at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/GREEN-CHART.pdf

To maintain confidentiality, number and rates are suppressed if count is <5.

Rate per 100,000 population using 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

*HIV infection diagnoses represent people newly diagnosed with HIV in a given year, at any stage of disease.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Chart by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

2009-2010 Average Annual HIV Infection* Diagnosis Rate by Community Area Residence at Time of Diagnosis, as of 08/25/2011 at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/GREEN_2009HIVPrevalenceWstnames.pdf

To maintain confidentiality, number and rates are suppressed if count is <5.

Rate per 100,000 population using 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

*HIV infection diagnoses represent people newly diagnosed with HIV in a given year, at any stage of disease.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Map by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

Average Annual Number of AIDS Diagnoses at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/PURPLE.pdf

Using 1990 and 2010 U.S. Census population figures.

*HIV prevalence represents people living with HIV infection at any stage of disease.

**Includes cases for which community area at time of diagnosis is unknown.

Data Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, HIV/STI Division - Surveillance, Epidemiology and Research Section, 10/3/2011.

Chart by Erica Demarest for Windy City Times.

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.


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