August 29, 2013

HIV isn't just in urban areas

blogger_HIVTo be sure, accusations that a Denver-centric legislature is waging a "war on rural Colorado" are uproarious hyperbole.

Which is why it's important not to overlook genuine examples of inequity toward rural residents such as the ones highlighted in a state audit released this week on the Colorado HIV and AIDS Prevention Grant Program.

The audit showed the grants were overly concentrated in urban areas, with urban counties receiving 65 percent of the total $1.7 million in grants in the current year.

In fact, five of the state's 56 rural counties didn't receive any grant funding, despite the fact that two of the counties — Morgan and Phillips — had HIV case rates higher than those of two urban counties, the audit said. When counties are ranked on HIV case rates, seven of the top 10 are rural.

Clearly, HIV and AIDS are serious problems in rural counties as well as urban ones. But rural areas often do not have the array of services urban areas do, which is why programs like the grant program exist — to help level the field.

Here is an actual instance of urban counties being favored at the expense of rural counties. And it should be fixed.

Original Story