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U.S. News

Wisconsin: Survival Rates Are Improving, but Complacency Keeps AIDS Prevalent

February 2, 2011

Of the 443 new HIV infections reported to the state in 2009, eight were in Rock County and five in Walworth County. Officials at AIDS Network, which serves a 13-county area that includes Rock and Walworth, say local HIV prevention efforts have largely stalled due to complacency and a lack of funding.

"I think a lot of the problem is they've made such great strides with medications, people feel like even if they become infected they can take a pill a day and live a normal, healthy life. But that just doesn't happen for most," said Kelly Dresser, prevention program assistant for the AIDS Network's Beloit office.


Kathy Fox, a case manager for the organization's Janesville location, said most people do not realize the medications can cost up to $3,500 a month and cause diarrhea, neuropathy, nausea, sleeplessness and kidney stones. "I had two [client] deaths this past year, and both were complacent on their meds," she said. "It's a lifetime regimen. You're never going to be able to stop taking that medication."

Dresser and Fox are seeing younger clients, people in their late teens and early 20s. "During my outreach and prevention, I'm coming across a lot more young adults who are HIV-positive," said Dresser. "The numbers are up, and the trend is changing to a lot more young males," Fox agreed.

Looming state budget cuts for HIV/AIDS services are another issue. Advocates are fearful Wisconsin's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides medicines for low-income patients, is in jeopardy. And state and federal funding for prevention efforts is lagging. "I work every day to figure out how to stretch the money," said Dresser.

Back to other news for February 2011

Adapted from:
Janesville Gazette
01.31.2011; Shelly Birkelo

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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 HIV Statistics on Midwest U.S. States

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