Local and Community News
Texas: HIV Cases Increase in Galveston County
June 24, 2003
Though Galveston County, Texas, has an HIV infection rate lower than the state average, the number of new HIV cases in the county increased last year. In 2002, 41 new cases of HIV infection were reported in Galveston County, up from 19 new cases reported in 2001. Thirty-six cases were reported in 2000. State law requires positive HIV tests at health care facilities to be reported to the Texas Department of HealthAdapted from:
While the increase appears to be significant, Dr. Sharon Melville at the Texas Department of Health speculated that cases from 2001 perhaps were not reported to the state until the next year. "It's probably a little blip in how the reports were processed. That wouldn't get me very concerned," said Melville.
Although numbers for the beginning of 2003 have not been released, Melville said the county's rates have traditionally been slightly lower than the state average. Statewide, the rate of new HIV infection is 22 per 100,000 people in 2002, but it is 16.1 per 100,000 in Galveston County. "There's not as many cases in Galveston County," said Melville. "That doesn't mean it's not active in Galveston County. It just means that infection numbers aren't quite as high."
The number of HIV cases, however, is distressing to Melville, particularly "because of all the emphasis on prevention activity." "We're still seeing new cases," she said. Melville added that several different groups, most notably African Americans and homosexual men, are more likely to become infected.
According to Melville, one of the reasons HIV/AIDS continues to increase statewide is that younger people have more recently relaxed safe sex practices due to improved treatments for the disease. "They feel like it's a treatable disease," said Melville. "But what they're not seeing is the many people dying of AIDS and HIV. They don't see the ravages of the disease."
06.19.03; Thayer Evans
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.