New HIV Infections in Minnesota Highest Since '92
January 28, 2010
A 13 percent increase in new HIV infections last year has prompted the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to release its annual report on STDs two months early.
In 2009, the state recorded 368 new HIV infections, an increase from 326 in 2008 and the highest number since 1992. The spike is due largely to cases among sexually active young men, particularly those who are gay or bisexual. Of the 95 new infections among 15- to 24-year-olds last year, 77 patients were males.
Increases were seen in Ramsey, Anoka, and Dakota counties, which together reported 111 new cases -- 43 more than in 2008. Though HIV/AIDS is commonly thought to be an urban problem, the increases in Dakota and Anoka counties suggest otherwise. Although new HIV diagnoses in Hennepin County declined from 142 in 2008 to 121 in 2009, the county saw an increase in cases outside Minneapolis.
According to Peter Carr, manager of MDH's HIV and STD section, increased testing may contribute to a rise in HIV figures, but this does not appear to have been the case in Minnesota last year. "We do not think that the case increase is simply explained by more testing, since there is no indication that public clinics provided more HIV tests in 2009," he said.
Carr said AIDS complacency is a key factor, as medications have allowed people with the infection to live longer and more productive lives. "A young, 20-year-old gay man is not seeing his friends dying right and left like he would have in the 1980s," he noted.
The Tuesday release includes preliminary figures; the final data are expected in mid-April, when MDH typically issues its annual report. Carr said the state had been monitoring the numbers and alerted clinics and prevention workers in August and again in November.
St. Paul Pioneer Press
01.26.2010; Jeremy Olson
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.