In the six years since Lamar Yarborough was first diagnosed with HIV, a lot has changed.
"I was diagnosed around 17 before my 18th birthday," said Yarborough.
And he is a changed man. He is upbeat, even smiling at times as he talked about what led doctors to test him and ultimately discover he had full blown AIDS.
"I was in the hospital. I had 5 T-cells and I was in ICU, said Yarborough. "There was a big glass around me. They were asking me things like what's your religion because they thought I was going to die."
Fortunately he lived to tell his story. Unfortunately, doctors say it is a story that's becoming too common.
"We definitely have seen an increase in cases this year," said doctor Manuel Patino.
Patino treats patients of all kinds, including those with HIV. His recent experience is right in line with the CDC's findings regarding an uptick in new HIV cases. And now we know where the highest number of newly diagnosed HIV patients live by zip code.
The CDC ranks Atlanta as 5th in the nation with new HIV infections. Atlanta area zip codes with highest rates are 30302, 30303, 30308, 30309 and 30310.
As an African-American living with HIV who's lived in 2 zip codes with the highest infection rates, Lamar Yarborough is in 2 high risk categories.
But after living through a painful, frightening time 6-years ago, he says he will not be labeled a statistic.
"I think I have a purpose in life. I think I'm here to help those who are newly diagnosed so that my story will help them," said Yarborough.
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