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U.S. News

Hawaii: AIDS Count Stable for 6 Years

January 24, 2006

Despite the advent of effective AIDS therapy, the number of new AIDS cases has remained stable in Hawaii for the last six years, Peter Whiticar, chief of the state Department of Health's STD/AIDS Prevention Branch, said recently.

"We would think by now we would be seeing fewer cases since treatment has been available for some time," said Whiticar. That means, he said, that some AIDS patients did not receive treatment, or were not adherent, or that treatment simply failed for some.

In 2005, Hawaii reported 109 new AIDS cases. Of them, 58 were reported in O'ahu; 18 in Maui County; 12 on the Big Island; and 21 on Kaua'i. Most were ages 40-49; 89 percent were male; male-to-male sex accounted for 62 percent, followed by heterosexual sex and injection drug use. Caucasians comprised 58 percent; Asians 12 percent; Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders 8 percent.

In 2005, 1,305 people with AIDS lived in the state. Since 1983, Hawaii has reported 2,847 AIDS cases, with 1,542 known AIDS deaths.

The Department of Health's HIV reporting system, which is code-based rather than name-based, does not provide an adequate picture of HIV in Hawaii, said Whiticar. The code-based system has the potential for duplicate reports, among other problems, he said.

Hawaii is planning to switch to name-based HIV reporting, the method CDC recommends. State health officials estimate there are 2,300 to 3,200 people living with HIV/AIDS in Hawaii. Even under a name-based reporting system, Whiticar said HIV data will remain unclear, since only those testing positive are counted. The number of people with HIV who are not tested will remain unknown.

Hawaii's dispersed epidemic is a challenge for health officials, said Whiticar. Elsewhere, HIV/AIDS cases are concentrated in urban areas where health and prevention services are more readily targeted. Hawaii must target HIV/AIDS efforts widely, including in rural areas, where health care access is typically poor due to poverty, lack of transportation and other difficulties.

Back to other news for January 24, 2006

Adapted from:
Honolulu Advertiser
01.20.06; Wilson Christie

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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.
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