Fulton County has the highest prevalence of HIV among metro Atlanta counties, part of a trend that shows infection rates to be highest in the South, according to an interactive data map that launched on Monday.

imageFulton’s rate of .380 to .703 percent, or 380 to 703 cases per 100,000 people, is the highest in the region, outpacing DeKalb and Cobb counties, as well as one of the highest in the South. Cobb and DeKalb counties show rates of .195 to .379 percent, or 195 to 379 cases per 100,000 people, according to the National Minority Quality Forum, the nonprofit research organization that put the map together.

Much of the rest of the Atlanta region shows HIV rates of .063 to .194 percent, or 60 to 194 cases per 100,000 people.

The map allows users to select a state and individual counties as well as choose from several demographic categories. The map provides a first-ever look at county-level HIV cases across the country, as the federal Centers of Disease Control & Prevention data on HIV and AIDS is reported in statewide totals.

The Associated Press examined the data in detail and discovered some disturbing trends for the South:

HIV infection rates are higher in African-American communities, and high minority populations in the South help explain the finding. While that’s not surprising, the high rates seen throughout states like Georgia and South Carolina were, said Gary Puckrein, president of the National Minority Quality Forum, the nonprofit research organization that put the map together.

Of 48 counties with the highest prevalence rates for HIV that had not yet progressed to AIDS, 25 were in Georgia, according to the map. Those were counties in which more than 0.7 percent of the population was infected with HIV.

Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia were heavily represented on another map of counties, which showed the highest prevalence rates for cases that had progressed to AIDS. Both

The map depicts reported numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS in 2006.

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