VIENNA (AP) A first-of-its-kind government study has found that poverty is perhaps the most important factor in whether inner-city heterosexuals are infected with the AIDS virus.

The study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said HIV is epidemic in certain poverty-stricken urban neighborhoods.

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The report, based on interviews of more than 9,000 people not considered at high risk of HIV/AIDS who live in high-poverty areas of 23 U.S. cities, found that 2.1% of that population was infected with HIV.

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That figure is more than double the 1% considered the threshold for a generalized epidemic as defined by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS. And it’s about 20 times as high as the prevalence of the virus among heterosexuals in the general U.S. population.

What’s more, poor heterosexuals in those neighborhoods are twice as likely to be infected as those who live in the same community but have more money.

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Federal scientists found race was not a factor. The research was released Monday at the international AIDS conference in Vienna.