By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 06 2003 1:00 AM ET
Health officials are blaming apathy among some Oklahoma residents as the cause for an increase in the number of HIV infections, with new infections in some cities reported in 2000 at twice the level reported in 1990. Oklahoma City had 94 new HIV cases in 2000, up from 46 in 1990. Tulsa had 34 new cases in 2000, up from 28 in 1990. Health officials say the higher numbers are due to increases in unprotected sex among those at high risk for infection. "You just have a group of people who have been so inundated with talk about HIV and AIDS that they have just turned a deaf ear," said Michelle Green-Gilbert, a training director for the state health department.
The Oklahoma Health Department recorded 4,098 Oklahomans living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2001, with almost half among those in the 30-39 age group. One in five of the new HIV cases have occurred among blacks, although African-Americans account for about 11% of Oklahoma's population.