California AIDS-Related Deaths Down 45.4% Since Mid-1990s, Department of Health Report Says
AIDS-related deaths in California are down 45.4% since the mid-1990s, according to a state Department of Health Services annual report released Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports. Experts attribute the decline to the use of antiretroviral drug combinations to treat the disease. "California has made AIDS drugs universally available to everyone," Office of AIDS Chief Michael Montgomery said, noting that both insured and uninsured patients have access to the drugs through the state's AIDS drug assistance program. "It's exciting news, but it doesn't mean there is a decrease in HIV infection," Montgomery added. The incidence of tuberculosis also declined from 18.5 per 100,000 in 1995 to 12.8 in 1999. Officials said that this drop was due to an "aggressiv[e]" campaign against the disease, which sometimes included county health workers overseeing patient drug-taking in a directly observed therapy program (Pierson, Los Angeles Times, 4/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.