Originally published on Advocate.com March 12 2004 12:00 AM ET
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it does not have the money to do widespread HIV testing to follow up the first documented outbreak of HIV on U.S. college campuses. Recently, researchers found that more than one in five of North Carolina's new HIV infections among adults ages 18 to 30 occurred in students, and that college students were 3.5 times more likely than nonstudents to become infected. Most of the infections occurred among male African-American students who had sex with other men, and were reported at 37 North Carolina colleges. Health officials also believe the North Carolina outbreak resulted in HIV transmissions in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. "I'm mortified more isn't being done. It suggests apathy at the federal level," said Peter Leone, HIV medical director at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC is providing technical assistance, planning more HIV surveys in North Carolina, and designing an intervention program for young black men who have sex with men, said agency spokeswoman Lisa Fitzpatrick. But widespread testing has not been considered. "The overall problem is that CDC funding has been cut," Fitzpatrick said, adding that the CDC is instead urging other states to check for similar college outbreaks, said Fitzpatrick.