Delaware: Black Community Hit Hard by AIDS
June 9, 2003
Newly compiled data on AIDS show that the largest percentage of infections in Delaware are contracted through intravenous drug use, and that the black community is particularly hit hard. Nationally, 25 percent of AIDS cases are attributed to drug use. In Delaware, 43 percent of AIDS cases are caused by intravenous drug use, according to the Division of Public Health data presented Wednesday to a joint House and Senate health committee.
In Delaware, 66 percent of AIDS cases are in the black community -- while only 49 percent of AIDS cases nationwide are black. The infection rate in the black community "is similar to what you see in the District of Columbia," Division of Public Health AIDS expert James Welch told the committee. Washington has the nation's highest AIDS rate at 147.9 cases per 100,000 people. Delaware ranks fifth in the nation, at 25 cases per 100,000 people. Its AIDS rate has ranked among the top 10 states for almost a decade.
A total of 789 HIV infections were reported from July 10, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2002. Another 295 individuals initially reported as HIV-infected were reported as living with AIDS during the same time period. Overall, Delaware has recorded 3,810 cases of HIV/AIDS infection since 1983, when statistics first began to be reported. A total of 2,726 of those patients had AIDS.
Officials said it is too early to determine any trends in HIV infection because the data on HIV cover a span of just less than 18 months. But the HIV records, along with existing knowledge, show the disease long ago ceased to be largely confined to homosexual men.
Delaware can attribute more than 50 percent of its HIV/AIDS cases to drug use, because drug users have sexual contact with those who would not otherwise be exposed to the disease, the data show.
News Journal (Wilmington, Del.)
06.05.03; J.L. Miller
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.