Number of AIDS Cases in Iowa up 38% Since 1998
The number of newly reported AIDS cases in Iowa has increased 38% since 1998, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. The state had 94 new cases reported in 2000, up from 85 in 1999 and a low of 68 in 1998. Although the increase "reflects a national upturn" in the number of reported AIDS cases, "it's hard to say if this is a trend," Patricia Young, HIV/AIDS program manager for the health department, said. Health department HIV/AIDS Surveillance Coordinator Randy Mayer cited several factors that may be contributing to the increase, including the possibility that anti-HIV drugs have reached their "limit of effectiveness" or that patients may be unable to follow the complex regimens over long periods of time, causing an increase in drug-resistant forms of the virus. "We may have reached the limit of the drugs as we have them right now. The virus may be overpowering the drugs. ... I think there's a reason to be concerned," he said. Mayer also noted that better surveillance of the disease may contribute to the higher number of reported cases. Dr. Sarah George, an associate in the University of Iowa's infectious diseases department, agreed with Mayer that the increase could be related to surveillance, adding that the state has improved its HIV/AIDS detection and partner notification programs in the past two years. "I wouldn't get too excited right now," she said (Jacobson, Cedar Rapids Gazette, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.