Garden Valley among highest new HIV cases

Rhonda Crowder | 12/6/2013, 12:39 p.m.
Across the United States, more than 30 years into the disease, Blacks make more new cases of HIV/AIDS than any ...
Jan Ridgeway

They thought of ways in which they could collaborate.

That agreement led to Fair conducting an HIV/AIDS education workshops with teens at the Garden Valley Neighborhood House. But, Ridgeway didn’t stop there. Having one of the largest food banks in Northeast Ohio, she uses that as a vehicle to distribute condoms.

“We put them right out there for people to pick them up. They can take as many as they need,” she said. “I have mothers who get them for their sons and their daughters.”

Ridgeway also partnered with the Care Alliance, who came in to conduct an educational session with a group of senior citizens. She said the seniors asked so many questions that the scheduled a second session. Garden Valley Neighborhood House and Care Alliance are also working together to set up regular HIV/AIDS testing at the center throughout 2014.

Testing will be open to anyone but will focus on young women and seniors. Ridgeway hopes her efforts are a small step toward presentation.

“This disease is out there and I think we, as a community, have to make people aware of what’s going on,” said Ridgeway. “We have a responsible to education, to get the message out there that this is a preventable disease and have been successful in terms of maintenance and care. World AIDS Day is a great way to get the word out.”

World AIDS Day, held annually on Dec. 1, 2013, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against the disease. Inaugurated in 1988, it is the first ever global health day.

Other Cleveland communities plagued by HIV:

While fact checking the data provided by Jan Ridgeway, The Call and Post Newspaper learned that while Garden Valley – located within the 44104 zip code – does have a high rate of new HIV cases, it doesn’t currently have the highest in the city.

According to the Cleveland Department of Public Health 2012 Surveillance Summary Report for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, 221 county residents were newly diagnosed. Of those, 131 were Cleveland residents at the time of diagnosis.

The report also reveals that, as of last year, the highest number of new HIV-only and HIV-with AIDS cases are in zip codes 44102, Cleveland’s west side (Edgewater, parts of Cudell, West Boulevard and Detroit-Shoreway), while a greater number of cases were reported in 44107 (Lakewood), 44120 (Buckeye-Shaker and Shaker Heights) and 44108 (Glenville and Forest Hills) as compared to 2010-2011 data.