HIV Crisis Facing Black Women
in Metro Atlanta
By DeMarco Morgan, 11Alive
May 9, 2012
Research shows African-American women, many living in
Atlanta, are being infected with HIV -- so much so
that the new cases are being compared to African
Data collected in 2009 from the health departments in
Clayton, Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Douglas and Gwinnett
counties indicates infection rates of HIV and AIDS,
respectively, as follows: (This is for women and men
combined, all races.)
Cobb and Douglas:
1,030 and 1,288
In another study conducted by the Centers for Disease
Control, black women make up 60 percent of all new HIV
cases among women. That's 15 times higher than white
women and four percent higher than Hispanic women.
But studies also show black women are no more likely
than women of other races to engage in risky
So what's the problem? We went searching for some
"I sat back and it's like he stole my life," said
Terri Gardner of Cartersville. "I wanted him dead."
Why? "Because now -- you have not only taken my life.
Who wants somebody that's HIV positive?"
Gardner, 55, said she was robbed by the man she says
infected her with HIV.
"He had my heart and it seems like he just got it and
did what he wanted to do and that's what he did," said
the mother of four, adding that it all came as a
"I didn't even know when I got infected," Gardner
That's until she was approached back in 2006 at an
event in Cartersville
"And they said, get your free HIV test. I said,
'Free?' ... and the dude looked at me and said, 'You
want to pay for it?' and I said no," she said.
True to her larger-than-life personality, she got
tested several times, and the results came back
"Was this someone you were married to, dating,
sleeping with?" 11Alive's DeMarco Morgan asked.
"It was somebody I'm going to say dating/sleeping
with, and it had been that way since 2002," Gardner
Gardner said the man, who we're choosing not to name,
may have infected several women.
The CDC estimates that nearly one in 30 black women
will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.
The reasons could be attributed to social,
socioeconomic and environmental factors.
Research also shows financial dependence may limit
black women's negotiation powers with their male
partner when it comes to having safe sex.
"We trust that man and we want to believe that he's
telling the truth," Gardner said.
Even worse, the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN)
followed more than 2,000 women in several cities,
including Atlanta, comparing the rising number of
cases to HIV rates in some African countries.
That alone has Gardner using her own experience to
hopefully inspire everyone to get tested.
"Is it your faith?" Morgan asked.
"Yes it's my faith," Gardner proclaimed. "I believe in
my Father in the name of Jesus. I pray to him. And I
cry to him and I talk to him and he makes me laugh. He
fills me with joy. He lets me know -- girl, I'm with
For more information about HIV/AIDS testing, visit:
AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia:
SisterLove, Inc.: http://www.sisterlove.org
HIV Prevential Trials Network:
Centers for Disease Control - Take Charge. Take
the Test: http://www.hivtest.org/takecharge
Georgia Department of Community Health HIV/AIDS
Surveillance fact sheet
Center for Black Women's Wellness:
More Information on US Health