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AIDS in the HAART era: New York's heterogeneous geography


  • Wallace, Robert G.


During the 1990s, the number of new AIDS cases in New York City, USA, declined precipitously. The declines, beginning before highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was introduced, were geographically heterogeneous across two New York City boroughs analyzed. From 1993 to 1998, zip codes in Lower Manhattan, with large white and affluent populations, had declines as much as 55% more than the rest of Manhattan. Bronx zip codes underwent still lesser declines. Declines also differed within zip codes among subpopulations. White zip code populations tended to have greater declines than Latino populations, which in turn tended to have greater declines than black populations. According to bivariate and stepwise regressions, an array of socioeconomic and community stress variables acted in combination on the decline in New York AIDS. Manhattan's declines in total AIDS incidence were primarily defined by changes in AIDS incidence for whites and for men who have sex with men, racial segregation, and the proportions of households in upper income classes and under rent stress. Bronx declines in total AIDS are principally explained by a broader range of income classes, and social instability as marked by housing overcrowding and cirrhosis and drug mortalities. Whatever the combination of proximate causes for the decline in AIDS incidence in 1990s New York (educational campaigns, HAART, demographic stochasticity), the decline was shaped by the city's socioeconomic structure and political and ecological history. That structure and history generates the geographically defined aggregates of behaviors that promote or impede AIDS decline. Such spatial heterogeneity may provide for HIV refugia, areas where the virus can weather the epidemic's contraction, a troubling possibility with the accelerating microbicidal failures of combination therapies.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallace, Robert G., 2003. "AIDS in the HAART era: New York's heterogeneous geography," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1155-1171, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:6:p:1155-1171

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    Cited by:

    1. Arnold, Michael & Hsu, Ling & Pipkin, Sharon & McFarland, Willi & Rutherford, George W., 2009. "Race, place and AIDS: The role of socioeconomic context on racial disparities in treatment and survival in San Francisco," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 121-128, July.


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