Michigan: Ingham County Health Officials Label HIV Cases "Crisis"
April 15, 2011
With 54 new HIV cases logged in 2010, Ingham County's HIV prevalence is second only to Wayne County's. Ingham has consistently ranked among Michigan's top three counties for HIV prevalence since the early 2000s.
Renee Canady, deputy health director for the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD), and Jake Distel, executive director of the Lansing Area AIDS Network, said in a joint statement that enhanced outreach and educational efforts may be driving the rise. "An intriguing conundrum is the fact that we have increased our focus on testing through a media campaign (radio and some social media) for the first time as a department. Efforts that increase testing also increase case identification which results in higher calculated rates," they noted.
"In spite of the potential worsening of our rates, identifying new cases is a critical step in our prevention efforts," said Canady and Distel. "It is important to understand, however, that our increased rates are not simply a mathematical artifact. We do believe that there are numerous unidentified cases in our community. The transmission rate from the 'unaware' group (people who do not know their status) is three times the rate of those who are aware of their status. Increasing testing is a priority for [ICHD] and its community partners."
"If there are any cases occurring of a 100 percent preventable disease such as HIV, that is a crisis," Canady said.
To further reduce risk, ICHD is offering antiretroviral treatment for people who have been exposed to HIV through consensual or nonconsensual sex, IV drug use, or other transmission routes. ICHD officials said they are using CDC protocols in administering non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis.
04.11.2011; Todd A. Heywood
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.
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