Policy Spotlight: The HIV Epidemic in the Gulf States

AIDS blood test

HIV/AIDS can rightly be called an epidemic in the Gulf States. According to the CDC, in 2010 Louisiana had the second highest rate of reported HIV infection in the nation. The areas hardest hit (by ranking of AIDS cases per 100,000 people) include Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; Miami, Florida; and Jackson, Mississippi.

Responding to this crisis requires understanding not only how it has arisen—what attitudes and beliefs contribute to risky behavior—but also how best to marshal various federal, state, and community resources.

RAND researchers have examined attitudes, beliefs, and actions of several ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic populations with regard to HIV and AIDS. RAND has also conducted research on responding to and treating the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. These studies can help Congressional, state, and local policymakers understand how to approach the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS.

See related RAND Blog post

Attitudes and Beliefs About HIV/AIDS

Among racial and ethnic groups, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV in the United States, according to aids.gov. This population is also highly mistrustful of doctors and may not have access to accurate information before engaging in activities that are more likely to result in infection.

The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations

Public health officials have begun to realize the importance of working with community and faith-based organizations when addressing crises such as HIV/AIDS, because of the difficulty reaching those people most at risk. RAND has explored this form of outreach, including the various challenges it can pose.

Treating HIV/AIDS

A great deal of research and funding has focused on expanding HIV/AIDS treatments to underdeveloped countries. At a Congressional hearing in late May 2012, however, the question arose: Why do American patients pay tens of thousands of dollars each year for HIV drugs that cost just hundreds in Africa?

RAND has explored funding and treatment issues worldwide; our research may be equally helpful in the Gulf States.

  • Local context is key in successfully using ARVs to prevent HIV/AIDS

    Our Mapping Pathways project, supported by Merck and the NIH and conducted in partnership with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, was the first study of its kind to synthesise evidence and views about localized antiretroviral-based prevention strategies for HIV/AIDS in diverse global contexts. The project included a thorough review of the social, economic and clinical impact of four treatment regimes. Research, community engagement and policy work took place in three countries, the United States, India and South Africa.

    Mar 31, 2014

  • Global HIV Programs at the Crossroads: How Can Donor Funding Be Optimized?

    In this December 2011 Congressional Briefing, Gery Ryan discusses policy options and recommendations on how to most effectively fund HIV treatment initiatives throughout the world.

    Dec 15, 2011

  • The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in HIV Prevention and Care in Central America

    Faith-based organizations such as churches and religious relief and development groups can play an important role in the response to HIV and AIDS in Central America, despite the fact that many do not support certain prevention measures such as condoms.

    Jun 1, 2010