NEW JERSEY: AIDS Mortality Rate Falls, Shifting Focus toPrevention Efforts
While better medication and treatment has led to a drop in the number of reported AIDS cases and deaths in New Jersey, state officials say the state needs to "step up its efforts" to find the "hard to reach" people with AIDS and HIV, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. With the number of people living with HIV rising, the state's Division of AIDS Prevention and Control has said that New Jersey should focus its efforts on prevention and treatment. Supervising public health representative for the state agency Warren Triano-Davis said, "HIV disease continues to be one of the most critical health issues facing [New Jersey]. This remains true even though there is encouraging data showing a significant drop in AIDS-related mortality and a rise in the quality of life in persons living with AIDS." This year, 991 new AIDS cases have been reported in the state, and instead of decreasing, the number is on track to match last year's total of 1,891. While more people with AIDS are able to stay out of hospitals with improved treatment and case management, a "large group" has yet to be tested for HIV. Triano-Davis said, "We need to identify communities where the risk of getting HIV is high, our prevention messages need to be focused on this group, and outreach efforts need to be changed." The state plans on reaching people by expanding its network of "drop-in centers" that offer testing without appointments. Starting this year, the network will include locations such as hospitals, food banks and correctional institutions (Spoto, Newark Star-Ledger, 10/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.