AIDS Drops Off New Jersey’s Top Ten ‘Killers’ List
The number of AIDS-related deaths in New Jersey continued a "years-long" decline in 1998, causing the disease to be removed from the list of the state's top 10 leading causes of death for the first time since AIDS became a separate category, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. According to an annual analysis of birth and death statistics released Friday by the state Department of Health and Senior Services, AIDS-related deaths in New Jersey decreased 25.9% from 1997 to 1998, the last year statistics were examined. The drop is even "more dramatic" -- 70% -- when comparing the 1998 data to figures from 1995, the year AIDS deaths in New Jersey peaked after six years of growth. Acknowledging that public education efforts have "played some role in the decline," medical experts primarily attribute the reduction in AIDS-related deaths to "more effective drugs." Rosemarie Martin, a research scientist with the health department, said, "HIV deaths started to decline in 1996 [with the introduction of protease inhibitors] and have gone down dramatically since then." However, she added that she expects the number of AIDS-related deaths in the state to "stabilize." She said, "We do not think that dramatic decline will continue" (Hester, Newark Star-Ledger, 3/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.