Columbia, S.C. has been known as a lot of things … the “birthplace of secession.” And more recently the “Face of the Recession.”

The city has also tried to define itself – as a “Capital Place To Be” and lately as “Famously Hot” (more on that in a moment).

There’s one thing you won’t be reading about in the city’s taxpayer-subsidized promotional literature, though: The disproportionately high occurrence of HIV and AIDS amongst its citizens. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Columbia ranks sixth in the nation in HIV and AIDS prevalence – trailing only Miami, Baton Rouge, Jacksonville, New York City and Washington, D.C.

By comparison, hedonistic Charleston, S.C. ranks No. 15 while Bible-thumping Greenville, S.C. ranks No. 45. Statewide, South Carolina ranks eighth nationally in the number of new HIV/ AIDS cases – earning a designation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as one of the Top Ten national “Hot Spots” for the spread of the disease.

Yeah … so now you know where “famously hot” comes from, huh?

What should government do about the spread of these diseases? Nothing.

That’s right … you heard us. Nothing.

HIV/ AIDS is a health care issue, and government has proven on repeated occasions it should have absolutely nothing to do with the health care market – unless it is going to follow the Milton Friedman model of disbursing a limited benefit directly to those in need and then permitting the market to manage the ensuing demand.

The current system of massive bureaucracies, subsidized bounty systems, individual mandates and restricted choices is perpetuating the problem … not addressing it.

Bottom line? The sooner we get government out of subsidizing dependency (on all fronts), the quicker the free market will rebound and provide better, cheaper care for greater numbers of people – including those afflicted with HIV/ AIDS in “famously hot” Columbia, S.C.