Maricopa County Has One Of The Highest Rates Of New HIV Infections

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 11:47am
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 3:58pm
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When a lot of us think about HIV or AIDS, we might think it’s a story of the past. We might think about "Angels in America," or some of the countless people we lost to the epidemic in the 1980s.

But when Dr. Ann Khalsa walks through the halls of the McDowell Healthcare Center in downtown Phoenix, she’s sometimes overwhelmed by the number of people coming in who are newly infected with the virus.

Hundreds of people of all stripes are still diagnosed every year at the clinic, which is part of the Maricopa Integrated Health System. In fact, Maricopa County is one of 48 counties in the country with the highest rates of new infections — but there are also efforts to combat it.

In February, the U.S. surgeon general visited Phoenix to highlight a national initiative aimed at reducing new infections by 75% in the next five years.

The Show spoke with Dr. Khalsa recently at the clinic to talk more about the problem, and the efforts to address it. The Show also spoke with her medical assistant, Robert Ahnert, who is himself HIV-positive, and went into this line of work because of it.

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