HIV Infections Increase Among White Men, African Immigrants in Minnesota
HIV infections are rising among white men and African-born immigrants in Minnesota, although the data are too new to suggest a long-term trend, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. New HIV infections among white men in the state increased 40% last year, with most of the new infections occurring among gay and bisexual men, according to the data released on Monday by the Minnesota Health Department. Officials noted that the increase may indicate that young adults "have a cavalier attitude about AIDS" or that people with HIV who are living longer due to treatment advances are spreading the virus to more people. However, officials warned that it is too early to tell whether the increase would be sustained in future years. "[O]ne year does not a trend make," Dr. Gary Remafedi, director of the Youth and AIDS Project at the University of Minnesota, said, adding that another two years' worth of data is necessary before researchers can determine a pattern.
Fighting HIV/AIDS in the Immigrant Community
HIV infections among African-born immigrants in Minnesota also increased by 61% last year. Although such immigrants make up less than 1% of the state's population, they represent 16% of its new HIV infections. Dr. Keith Henry, an AIDS researcher at Hennepin County Medical Center, said that many of his immigrant patients contracted HIV in their native countries before coming to the United States. Although Minnesota's immigrant population is still small, it has been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s. However, until this year, the state health department had classified data on African immigrants with data on the state's black population as a whole, a grouping that exaggerated HIV infection rates among the overall black community. Saheed Fahia, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Communities in Minnesota, said that he is concerned that prevention messages are not reaching African immigrants. He noted that, due to cultural stigmas, immigrants are not likely to attend sessions advertised as discussions on AIDS or safe sex (Marcotty, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/16).