HIV rates, Braves and Queen Bey to start your week

Plus: A MARTA sponsorship deal, TikTok critic to return
Metro Atlanta had the third highest number of new HIV infections in 2021, according to the latest readily available numbers. (Penchan Pumila/Dreamstime/TNS)

Metro Atlanta had the third highest number of new HIV infections in 2021, according to the latest readily available numbers. (Penchan Pumila/Dreamstime/TNS)

Howdy, howdy everyone. I’m Leon Stafford, and I’m sitting in this week for Tyler Estep, your friendly host of all things morning news. Today is expected to be cloudy, but temps will be in the high 70s.

There’s a lot to talk about today, including a potential MARTA sponsorship deal with Atlanta United, protests in Israel, the Braves’ loss to the Phillies on Sunday and whether Beyonce’s “Cowboy Carter” hits the mark as a country album or is — as the singer says herself — “a Beyonce album.”

Let’s get to it.

***

TODAY’S TALKER

This is not a cheery way to begin a Monday morning, but new numbers reveal that metro Atlanta is a leader nationally in new HIV infections.

According to Jeff Cheek, director of the Fulton County Department of HIV Elimination, the 20-county Atlanta metro area had the third-highest rate of new HIV diagnoses among U.S. metro areas in 2021, reports the AJC’s Jim Gaines.

There were 1,562 new cases that year in the metro area, a rate of 25.4 new diagnoses out of every 100,000 people. Only Miami and Memphis had higher rates of new infections that year.

“That rate is two times greater than all other metropolitan areas and two and a half times higher than the rate nationwide,” said Cheek, citing the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

More startling numbers: 40,931 people are known to be living with HIV in metro Atlanta, a rate of 662.5 per 100,000 population, Cheek told Gaines. Rates vary widely by county, from 91 per 100,000 in Forsyth to 1,802 per 100,000 in Fulton.

The U.S. overall had 382 people per 100,000 living with HIV in 2021, according to CDC data.

Driving the metro area’s numbers are increases in HIV infections in the Black and Latino communities, which don’t have the same level of access to health care and HIV prevention available in white communities.

“Our epidemic is primarily African American,” Cheek said.

Not signed up yet? What’re you waiting for? Get A.M. ATL in your inbox each weekday morning.

Keep scrolling for more news.

***

AROUND THE STATE

Two people were killed and five wounded in a drive-by shooting in Dublin on Easter. No arrests had been made as of late Sunday.

***

Meagan Danley and her five-month-old son William shown at the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus. (Natrice Miller/ Natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: NATRICE MILLER

icon to expand image

Credit: NATRICE MILLER

The unveiling recently of renovations to Columbus’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall replica brought out families, including the parents of five-month-old William Danley, who was clad in blue corduroy overalls with a white shirt and red-tipped socks.

***

Southwest Georgia citrus trees are displaying their first blooms of spring. But growers are keeping an eye on temps, which can be deadly if they fall too much during the night in the coming weeks.

***

METRO ATLANTA

More than 3,000 people attended the Easter Sunday sunrise service atop Stone Mountain. Turnout was aided by fine weather and a peachy glow across the metro Atlanta sky.

***

MARTA has approved a potential sponsorship deal with Atlanta United worth upwards of $586,000. Negotiations are now in the hands of the soccer team.

***

Two people died Sunday in Fayetteville after the vehicle they were traveling in crashed in an alleged attempt to elude police. Authorities said the car had tags that belonged to another vehicle.

NATION AND WORLD

Israelis took to the streets Sunday in the largest anti-government protest since the beginning of the war. Protesters want a cease-fire and early elections.

***

Workers killed in last week’s Maryland bridge collapse were remembered on Easter Sunday as efforts to remove steel and concrete from the fallen structure continued.

***

BRAVES MISS SWEEP OF PHILLIES

Braves' Ozzie Albies tags out Phillies' Nick Castellanos at second base during the fourth inning of their game Sunday in Philadelphia. Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

No sweep. The Atlanta Braves suffered its first loss of the season to the Phillies on Sunday in Philadelphia.

***

Atlanta United doused the Chicago Fire in a 3-0 rout Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Giorgos Giakoumakis’ opening goal kept Atlanta unbeaten at home.

***

A VISIT TO THE COUNTRY?

The cover of Beyonce's "Cowboy Carter." Parkwood Entertainment/TNS

Credit: TNS

icon to expand image

Credit: TNS

Beyonce’s “country” album — “Cowboy Carter” — dropped Friday. Queen Bey says it’s not a country album, it’s a “Beyonce album.” Our DeAsia Page has some thoughts.

***

Ever dreamed of taking a real-life tour of Barbie’s dream house? That may soon become a reality if a “larger than life” Barbie Beach House is built in Kansas City as proposed.

***

MORE TO EXPLORE

» What bills from Georgia’s 2024 session will Kemp sign into law?

» Four spots in Atlanta to make the most of the upcoming solar eclipse

» Another big Atlanta employer wants workers in the office 5 days a week

» Pollen counts in Atlanta reach “extremely high” levels

» Georgia approves Delta-8 and CBD age limits, testing requirements

***

ON THIS DATE

April 1, 1918

America’s first edition of daylight saving time had Atlantans all sorts of befuddled.

Per The Atlanta Constitution: “Sunday saw many laggards penalized for failure to obey the national summons. They missed trains, and dinners, and sweethearts, all because they forgot to set their watches and clocks ahead an hour Saturday night or Sunday morning.”

The Atlanta Constitution front page April 1, 1918.

Credit: File photo

icon to expand image

Credit: File photo

***

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis challenges Chicago Fire defender Carlos Terán for the ball during the first half of Atlanta United's 3-0 win Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 
 Miguel Martinez/miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez

AJC photographer Miguel Martinez captured one of the many moments that Giorgos Giakoumakis had in Sunday’s win over the Chicago Fire. He scored a goal, which was his fifth this season and 22nd scored during the regular season in his MLS career.

***

ONE MORE THING

TikTok food critic Keith Lee is coming back to Atlanta to give the city another chance. After naming Atlanta the worst of eight restaurant towns he visited last year, the popular influencer (he has 16 million TikTok followers and another 2 million on Instagram) received death threats after some not-so-positive reviews of popular eateries.

He says he’s coming in peace, even though he’ll have security at his side. This time he’ll be dining at “mom and pop” establishments and ethnic restaurants. No specific date has been given for his return, as food criticism is all about anonymous visits.

We’ll see if Atlanta fares better this time around.

***

Thanks for reading to the very bottom of A.M. ATL. Questions, comments, ideas? Contact me at leon.stafford@ajc.com.

Until next time.