New HIV Infections, AIDS Cases Continue to Decline in Massachusetts
The rate of new HIV infections and AIDS cases is "declin[ing] sharply" in Massachusetts, according to new data released Tuesday by the state Department of Public Health, the Boston Herald reports. The report shows that new AIDS cases decreased by 25% and new HIV infections dropped 18% between 1999 and 2000. In 2000, Massachusetts had 615 new AIDS cases -- down from 881 in 1999 -- and 565 new HIV infections, down from 694 the previous year. Jean Maguire, director of the state's HIV/AIDS bureau, cautioned that these figures could change because some cases diagnosed in 2000 may not have been reported yet, but said that she believes Massachusetts is still "running counter to the national trend" (Lasalandra, Boston Herald, 8/15). National statistics released Monday by the CDC at the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta showed that AIDS cases and AIDS-related deaths have remained stable over the last two years, signalling to health officials that the "era of dramatic declines" in the mid-1990s might be over (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/14). Federal officials feel that the levelling off of AIDS-related deaths is at least partly attributable to the fact that antiretroviral treatments "are not reaching those who are newly infected and don't know it." But Maguire said that she has "good confidence that access to care and continuity of care" for people with HIV "are being achieved" in Massachusetts. However, she added that officials "need to watch the numbers very closely" because reports from clinics indicate that "more deaths are being seen." She added that co-infection with HIV and hepatitis C is becoming a "big problem," with some clinics reporting that 30% to 90% of their HIV patients are co-infected with hepatitis C (Boston Herald, 8/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.