HIV Diagnoses Up 32 Percent in Utah
June 2, 2008
New HIV diagnoses in Utah were up 32 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, with the majority of cases in Salt Lake City. The "definite upward trend" started a couple of years ago, said Lynn Beltran, STD/HIV program manager for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department.
In 2007, 91 HIV cases were reported to state health officials. Just more than half of those were people ages 20-39; two-thirds had engaged in male-to-male sexual activity and/or injected drugs. Eighty-six of the 91 cases were in Salt Lake County.
Already this year, 45 new cases have been identified. The greatest increase is among young white men, said Beltran.
"This is what's considered the third wave of the epidemic. People have become complacent," said Beltran. "They're not seeing people die from AIDS because medications are more effective in staving it off, so the fear factor is no longer present. And people are sick of hearing about" HIV/AIDS prevention methods, such as condom use, she said.
Some of the rise can also be attributed to methamphetamine use, which can increase "risky behaviors related to sexual health," said Beltran.
Stan Penfold of the Utah AIDS Foundation said his organization is working on revamping its HIV/AIDS prevention messages because "we realize we're not nearly as well targeted as we have been in the past and we need to do something different."
Deseret News (Salt Lake City)
5.30.2008; Lois M. Collins
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.