Study Addresses Spread Of AIDS

Beginning this month, U.S. federal health experts are being sent to major American cities to examine the disproportionate spread of AIDS and HIV in people of color, especially blacks, according to news reports Wednesday.

The team will look at factors that have played a role in the disease's spread in certain cities to see what should be changed in the approach taken by local health officials, The Miami Herald newspaper reported.

In America, Miami has the third-highest rate of AIDS infections. Last year, blacks accounted for nearly half of all the AIDS cases among men in Florida and three-quarters of the women.

Miami, Philadelphia and Detroit are the first of 11 cities chosen for the review and will be visited this month. The plan was formally announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Last year, the Clinton administration committed $156 million specifically to fight AIDS in black communities nationwide. That money is paying for the crisis response teams.

For whites and Hispanics the news is less grim but still cause for concern. Last year, Hispanics accounted for 33 percent of all AIDS cases in Florida, and 28 percent of HIV infections. For whites, it's 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

The formation of the crisis response teams could signal a shift in how prevention and treatment messages are spread and implemented since information campaigns about AIDS largely have been targeted toward gay, white males.