New AIDS Cases Increase in North Carolina in 2002
January 23, 2003
The number of AIDS cases in North Carolina increased dramatically in 2002: 1,014 new cases were reported last year, state health officials said Wednesday. The cases represent a 16 percent increase over the 871 new cases reported in 2001. This marked the first time since 1994 that more than 1,000 new cases were reported in a single year.Adapted from:
"This epidemic is not under control," said Dr. Leah Devlin, state health director. "We're moving in the wrong direction with respect to new reports. The South has more persons living with AIDS than other geographic areas of the nation. North Carolina is part of this trend."
One possible reason for the increase is that more people lack access to care, so HIV infection may go undetected or untreated. That increases the chances that a person will develop and/or transmit AIDS, Devlin said.
The closing of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program may also be part of the reason, Devlin said. ADAP provides HIV/AIDS drugs to people who cannot afford them. The program was closed to new enrollees because of budget constraints, and a waiting list was established in December 2001. Some 665 people were moved from the waiting list into the program in November 2002, but more than 175 people remain on the list.
The increase also may be related to some treatment failures or to the natural progress of HIV infection, says the report by the state HIV/STD prevention and care branch.