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Medical News

Incidence and Diagnoses of HIV Infection -- Puerto Rico, 2006

June 10, 2009

The current study examines Puerto Rico's high HIV rate and how the territory's epidemic differs from that of the United States as a whole.

"The overall HIV incidence rate in Puerto Rico in 2006 (45.0 per 100,000 population) was twice the estimated US rate (22.8) and 1.5 times the estimated rate for Hispanics in the United States (29.4)," the authors noted.

The HIV incidence rate among males in Puerto Rico (62.0) was 1.8 times that of US males (34.3) and 1.4 times that of US Hispanic males (43.1). HIV incidence among females in Puerto Rico was 29.8, 2.5 times the rate of US females (11.9) and 2.0 times the rate of US Hispanic females (14.4).

In the 50 US states and the District of Columbia, the authors noted, most new HIV infections are attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. But among males in Puerto Rico, "the most common mode of HIV transmission was injection-drug use (40 percent), followed by male-to-male sexual contact (30 percent)." The most common mode of HIV transmission among females in the territory was heterosexual contact (73 percent), followed by drug injection (27 percent).

"The HIV epidemic in Puerto Rico is notably different from the epidemic in the United States overall and among Hispanics in the United States," the authors concluded. "CDC supports prevention efforts that target populations at greatest risk in Puerto Rico, including injection-drug users, women who have high-risk heterosexual contact, men who engage in male-to-male sexual contact, and youths."

"To address transmission of HIV infection among injection-drug users, the Puerto Rico Department of Health provides syringe exchange programs and rapid HIV testing, has implemented policies to allow pharmacies to sell syringes without medical prescription, and provides drug rehabilitation services throughout the country," the authors wrote in conclusion. "The findings in this report help describe the HIV epidemic in Puerto Rico and can help guide future allocation of resources and planning, implementation, and evaluation of HIV prevention programs and services."

Back to other news for June 2009

Adapted from:
Morbidity and Mortalilty Weekly Report
06.05.2009; Vol. 58; No. 21: P. 589-591; S. Miranda, M.P.H.; B. Lopez, M.S.; E.J. García-Rivera, M.D.; M. Rangel, M.D., Ph.D.; A.L. Herdandez, M.D.; L. Espinoza, D.D.S.; Q. An, M.S.; R. Song, Ph.D.; R. Zhang, M.S.; Z. Myles, M.P.H.

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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.
See Also
More About HIV in Puerto Rico