North Carolina Officials Attribute Rise in AIDS Cases to Better Tracking
North Carolina health officials attribute the rise in reported AIDS cases in the state to "improved efforts at tracking" the disease, the Charlotte Observer reports. According to early estimates released on Thursday by the CDC, North Carolina could post a 41% increase in the number of reported AIDS cases for last year, with 947 new cases in 2001, compared to 673 in 2000. Del Williams, head of epidemiology for the state department charged with tracking HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease cases, said that while the increase may not be as high as the estimates predict, there may still be a "pretty significant jump." Williams said that "improved surveillance" increased the numbers, adding that the state has taken a more proactive approach in "tracking down cases of HIV and AIDS" rather than "waiting for them to be reported." He also cited the likely "diminishing effectiveness of anti-AIDS drugs over time," suggesting that some drugs may have stopped working or some patients may have stopped taking them. "Some folks who have been on meds, they just get tired of keeping up with ever-how-many pills they have to take ever-how-many times a day. (If they stop taking the drugs), boom, before you know it, they've got an opportunistic infection that meets the AIDS case definition," he said. Kitty Binna, a CDC spokesperson, said that the 2001 preliminary figures are "misleading and likely to change," as some states have not completed their reporting and numbers have not been checked for duplicates (Garloch, Charlotte Observer, 1/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.