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HIV/AIDS symbol

Source: JEWEL SAMAD / Getty

A shocking report reveals three tenths of Atlanta residents have been diagnosed with full-blown AIDS.

In 2013, Grady Hospital began testing all emergency room patient for HIV. Since the start of the initiative, approximately two to three patients were diagnosed with the disease daily.

This is now making national news, but it’s been a concern for Atlanta’s medical community since 2013, when Grady Hospital started offering routine testing for STDs. An average of two to three patients were found carrying the HIV virus on a daily basis leading doctors and nurses to feel alarmed. Quoted by the NPR chapter in Atlanta WABEDr. Abigail Hankin-Wei acknowledged that the epidemic was “something that keeps me awake at night…”

Currently the top U.S. city with the most new cases of HIV, medical field experts are looking at a few reasons why the diseases have surged and it has a lot to do with socioeconomics and societal shaming. Atlanta doesn’t offer as much STD testing services as it should and Grady Hospital’s Emergency Department has been the only one to take the CDC’s recommendation that patients should be able to get STD/HIV testing wherever healthcare is provided.

Outside of Grady, there are currently 50 other places that residents can go to get tested. There are also the factors of poverty, transportation and public shaming (if positive for the disease) that have prevented many from getting tested.

With upsetting news like this, healthcare advocates in the city are planning to start new initiatives and campaigns to get the government and its residents to believe in the local healthcare system. For the areas most populated with residents, healthcare clinics will need to be provided with more of the necessary tools and education for future testing and hopefully more negative results.

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