April 17, 2012
A recent surveillance report by the Texas Department of State Health Services shows Dallas County's new HIV infection rate in 2010 was the highest since 2005 and the highest of any urban county in the state. Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 70 percent of the new cases diagnosed that year.
"We can't claim any victories right now," said Zachary Thompson, the county's Health and Human Services director. "These numbers are showing there must be a comprehensive prevention effort."
The 908 Dallas cases reported in 2010 translates to a rate of 37.3 per 100,000 population. While the total number of cases seen in Houston's Harris County was higher, the larger population there resulted in a rate of 30.1.
African Americans comprised 452 of Dallas' 908 new infections, for an infection rate of 91.5 cases per 100,000 residents. "Numbers are increasing among black MSM. There and among African-American women," said Thompson. Whites had an infection rate of 28.5 per 100,000; the rate for Hispanics was 21.1 per 100,000.
While those ages 25 to 34 made up the largest group infected in 2010, the biggest category increase was among those ages 13-24. "We need an educational curriculum throughout Texas to address that alarming rate, especially among 13- to 18-year-olds," Thompson noted.
"We need to regroup and look at how prevention is done in Dallas County," the health director urged.