August 1, 2003
Griswold and Drew Thomits, educational programs supervisor for the Eastern Maine AIDS Network, said that the increase in HIV/AIDS cases could be attributed to "prevention fatigue" in older MSM and lack of awareness in younger MSM who have not had many friends die of AIDS-related causes, according to the Daily News. "People get tired of hearing 'safe sex' all the time and never 'We've made great strides and now you don't have to worry,'" Thomits said, adding, "When we didn't have effective testing and treatments, people saw wasting and death and all the horrible things that happen with this disease. Now if they know someone [living with HIV/AIDS], they may see them healthy, out working -- they don't see how hard it is to live with AIDS." People are also not getting tested early enough to get effective treatment, according to the Daily News. Griswold said that nearly half of the people who tested HIV-positive between 1998 and 2002 were diagnosed with AIDS within six months, indicating that people are not getting tested until they start having symptoms. Charles Dwyer, manager of Maine's HIV program, said that the state will be launching an awareness campaign in the next few weeks, which will include posters in 1,000 doctor's offices and at nightclubs and other highly visible locations (Bangor Daily News, 7/30).
Increases in Numbers of Other STDs
Griswold added that a similar increase among other sexually transmitted diseases is often seen in conjunction with a rise in new HIV/AIDS cases, suggesting overall changes in sexual behavior among the population, according to the AP/Foster's Daily Democrat. Nine new syphilis cases were reported in the state in the first half of 2003, compared with only one new case in the first half of 2002. In addition, 123 new gonorrhea cases were reported in the first half of 2003, compared with 66 in the first half of 2002, and 1,121 new chlamydia cases were reported in the first half of 2003, compared with 829 over the same period last year (AP/Foster's Daily Democrat, 7/30).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.