Study: Minority Women In Mass. Have Higher Diabetes, HIV/AIDS Rates

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A new national report that examines disparities in health care finds that minority women in Massachusetts have higher rates of diabetes and HIV/AIDS than white women do.

The study compares the health of white women and women of color for illnesses including heart disease and cancer.

The Kaiser Family Foundation report also looks at whether the two populations have comparable access to care, such as insurance coverage and health screenings. In Massachusetts, the study found that minority women get diabetes twice as often as white women do, and get HIV or AIDS 13 times as often.

The Kaiser Foundation's Cara James calls these disparities an economic concern as well as a health issue.

"The cost to the health care system of having women who have problems with diabetes, heart disease, smoking — the toll that that takes in terms of care that they need is costly," said James, the study's lead author.

James says the study could help Massachusetts decide where best to spend its health care dollars.

Sacha Pfeiffer

This program aired on June 11, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.