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Iowa: Service Challenges Grow Along With HIV, AIDS Cases

June 9, 2003

As survival rates for HIV/AIDS patients climb and more Iowans test positive for the virus, new service challenges are emerging for health care workers and patients. The number of Iowans living with HIV/AIDS has risen 16 percent in the last two years, creating the need for more services and more funds.

Iowa ranks 46th among the 50 states and District of Columbia in the number of AIDS cases per 100,000 people. As a result, it is difficult for the state to compete for public health funding. "I think we still have a tendency to think it's not a big deal in Iowa, and it is," said Karen Robinson, HIV program coordinator for the Johnson County Department of Public Health. Iowa has reported 827 HIV- or AIDS-related deaths since 1982.

Virginia Quincy, of the Iowa HIV/AIDS Community Planning Group working on state strategies for dealing with the virus, maintains that testing and education are still needed in the state. "I hope that people won't get complacent because of the medications that we have," said Quincy, who got HIV from an infected drug needle in 1986 but still has not developed AIDS.

According to service providers, Iowa is keeping up financially with many, but not all, of its HIV programming needs. Federal money provides almost all programming and treatment funds the state offers people with HIV. Iowa has approximately $2.05 million to distribute through March 30, 2004, to go toward Iowans' HIV medical and related bills. That is up from last year's $1.89 million and includes $1.2 million for Iowans in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

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Excerpted from:
Associated Press
06.08.03




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