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National News

California Inland AIDS Cases Increase: Report

November 11, 2002

The number of new AIDS cases in the southern California Inland area rose 76 percent in the past two years, with minorities, young people, and heterosexuals showing higher infection rates than in previous years. A draft report, published by the Inland Empire HIV Planning Council, attributes the jump largely to medical advances that have helped people with AIDS to live longer, and to people with the disease moving from elsewhere to gay-friendly spots such as Palm Springs. “It’s crossing over from the traditional gay males and IV drug users into the heterosexual and female population,” said Steve McGrew, co-chair of the council.

There were 3,670 people living with AIDS in San Bernardino and Riverside counties as of the end of 2001. In the Inland region, minorities represented 47 percent of people diagnosed with AIDS in the past two years; those ages 20 to 44 represent 72 percent; and heterosexuals represent 14 percent. California only began documenting the rates of HIV last summer, so more will be known about the extent of HIV in six to eight months, said Victoria Jauregui Burns, chief of HIV/AIDS programs for Riverside County.

Bernardino and Riverside counties receive between $7 million and $8 million in federal Ryan White CARE Act funds. Burns said that minorities, especially blacks, tend to enter treatment later than whites, so it is important to get the word out in the black community. “We know the earlier you’re diagnosed, the earlier you start treatment, the better your quality of life,” she said.

To reach those who might ignore their risk for HIV, agencies should employ workers who are comfortable with specific communities, said Steven English, board chair of the Inland AIDS Project. He said his group is concerned that young people believe that AIDS drugs are a cure-all, ignoring their terrible side effects. Within the past three months, English said, his organization has started a committee to get more minorities involved in HIV/AIDS outreach.

Back to other CDC news for November 11, 2002

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Adapted from:
Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.)
11.05.2002; Matt Surman

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More HIV Statistics on Western U.S. States