HIV Levels in Wisconsin "Unacceptable"
August 12, 2003
Wisconsin reported a 16 percent increase in new HIV infections from 2001 to 2002, but a state health official said the numbers might be misleading. "In Wisconsin, it is too soon to determine if the increase in 2002 is part of a longer-term trend in increasing case numbers," Dr. James Vergeront, head of the state's HIV/AIDS program, said Thursday. Vergeront is calling for continued monitoring of the epidemic to assess trends.
In 2002, 390 new cases of HIV infection were reported in the state, up from 336 cases reported in 2001. "It is important, however, to put this one-year increase in perspective," said Vergeront. "From 1998 to 2000, the number of cases reported each year was relatively level -- between 372 and 389 new cases of HIV infection were reported each year," he added.
New HIV cases declined by 53 in 2001 compared to 2000, followed by a rebound of 54 cases in 2002. "This suggests that the lower number of cases reported in 2001 may have been a random fluctuation in an otherwise general leveling of cases that has been ongoing since 1998," Vergeront said. "However, it is clear that a leveling off at this high number of cases is unacceptable, and intensified prevention efforts will be required to again put the case numbers on a declining path," Vergeront acknowledged.
Wisconsin's first cases of HIV infection were reported in 1983, according to a state surveillance report, and the annual number of cases increased throughout the 1980s. New HIV cases reached a peak between 1990 and 1993, and then began to decline.
Alarmingly, minorities -- who make up 12 percent of Wisconsin's population -- accounted for 54 percent of HIV cases reported between 2000 and 2002, said Vergeront. Among Hispanics, infection rates are 6.5 times higher than among whites. The rate among blacks was 14 times higher than among whites.
Wisconsin State Journal
08.11.03; Patricia Simms
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.