AIDS, HIV Up in U.S. for First Time in Decade
February 12, 2003
Reports of new HIV infections and AIDS cases have risen for the first time in a decade, U.S. health officials said Tuesday. "AIDS complacency" means people are not getting tested for HIV and are passing it to others through unprotected sex and other practices, said Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention at CDC.Adapted from:
At the 10th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, Valdiserri said that in the 25 states reporting new HIV diagnoses to the federal government, the number of cases increased by 8 percent between 1999 and 2001. "We see a 14 percent increase in HIV diagnoses over this two-year period in men who have sex with men and a 10 percent increase in heterosexual transmissions," he said in an interview. The 25 reporting states represented about 25 percent of HIV cases in the country, Valdiserri said, but did not include New York and California -- the two states with the most cases. About half the new HIV cases are women who were infected by men, according to CDC.
"We are very concerned that it could represent a reversal in the trends that we believe have been relatively stable ... at about 40,000 new cases every year," Valdiserri said. "We have seen a slight increase in reported AIDS cases for the first time since 1993. It is just a 1 percent increase, but it's the first time since 1993."
While welcoming life-prolonging HIV drugs, health officials have worried that people often forget how dangerous HIV is. "We are still talking about a deadly disease for which there is no cure," Valdiserri said. "We are still dealing with this perception that HIV/AIDS is not a problem in America -- it is just a problem overseas. ... We are still very concerned about the estimated 280,000 people in America who are infected with HIV and don't know it."
Valdiserri said CDC had investigated syphilis outbreaks among gay and bisexual men and found that 43-59 percent of those with syphilis knew they were HIV-positive, suggesting they were having unprotected sex despite knowing they could pass on the virus.
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.