Illinois: Gays Still Form Bulk of Illinois HIV Cases
July 7, 2006
While new Illinois AIDS cases fell last year and new HIV diagnoses grew more slowly, according to recent state data, public health officials said gay and bisexual men still accounted for 43 percent of new HIV cases.
"Gay and bisexual men obviously are a high-risk target for us," said Tom Hughes, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Office of Health Protection.
New AIDS reports declined from 1,410 in 2004 to 1,366 in 2005, new IDPH data show. After a 16 percent jump in new HIV cases from 2003 to 2004 (2,523 diagnoses), the rate of new cases rose much less dramatically, to 2,540 in 2005. However, almost half the new HIV cases were African Americans, who account for just 15 percent of state residents, and 65 percent of African Americans diagnosed were men. The figures involving men who have sex with men makes it clear where HIV prevention efforts should be targeted, said Hughes.
"We do concentrate our efforts statewide in men who have sex with men," said Hughes. "One of the things I hope we do in an expanded way this year is Internet outreach," he said. "The way that gay men are meeting and connecting these days is through the Internet."
Hughes said IDPH is coordinating HIV/AIDS prevention with its methamphetamine programs in the gay community. He also credited Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) for his September launch of Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS, which encourages African Americans, especially those of college age, to test for HIV. "We're also using faith-based initiatives," Hughes said.
Chicago Free Press
07.05.2006; Gary Barlow
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.