May 3, 2011
New HIV cases in Minnesota dropped 11 percent last year from 2009, when the state recorded the highest yearly total since 1992. Data show 331 new cases were logged last year, compared with 370 in 2009.
"It looks like 2009 was an anomaly. But the long-term picture over the past 10 years is that we've seen a slow but steady increase in cases, so there's an upward trend" said Peter Carr, head of the STD and HIV section at the Minnesota Department of Health. The state had averaged just over 300 new HIV cases per year for nearly a decade, but that figure has jumped to roughly 320 in recent years.
Kathleen Corley, interim executive director for the Minnesota AIDS Project, said 26 percent of new infections were among men, age 24 and younger, who have sex with men. "One of the things that's really driving that steady increase overall is the substantial increase in cases among young men," noted Carr. "There may well be a sense of complacency among young gay men."
Fifty percent of new cases were in racial and minority groups that comprise just 12 percent of the state's population. Among women, minorities accounted for 68 percent of new infections. Health department data indicate that heterosexual sex was the top risk factor for females of all ages with known risk factors. The report also shows the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area accounted for 86 percent of the statewide total.