CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — The Mecklenburg County health director is under fire this week after making some controversial comments about the growing HIV rates in Charlotte.
Mecklenburg County HIV rates are more than double the national average, and while county commissioners admit there is a problem many disagree with Gibbie Harris’ explanation after the new Mecklenburg County health director blamed weekend tourists for spreading the virus and Charlotte’s ‘night scene’.
Harris is now under fire for calling the Queen City ‘a party town’ and citing that as a reason for Charlotte’s high rates of HIV.
Now, some county leaders are attacking Harris’ comments as they ask themselves how to stop the virus from spreading. For every 100,000 people in Mecklenburg County 30 have HIV, according to the Charlotte Observer. That’s more than twice the national average and twice the rate compared to the rest of North Carolina.
According to a recent county report, cases of HIV in Charlotte are heavily concentrated in low-income neighborhoods.
Harris has been the official Mecklenburg County health director for about one month. She previously served as the interim director since June. This, after the last health director resigned following controversy and the department’s failure to notify patients about abnormal pap smear results.