Increase in Number of Gonorrhea, Syphilis Cases Signals Possible Resurgence of HIV in Hawaii
Hawaii health officials are concerned that although the number of people with gonorrhea and syphilis in Hawaii "remains relatively small," a recent increase in the number of gonorrhea and syphilis cases in the state could signal a resurgence of HIV cases, the Associated Press reports. There were 744 reported cases of gonorrhea in the state last year -- a 23.4% increase over 2001 and a 60% increase over 1999. Also, there were 64 reported cases of syphilis, a 68.4% increase over last year. Peter Whiticar, chief of the state health department's Sexually Transmitted Diseases/AIDS Prevention Branch, said that the effectiveness of AIDS treatments has lessened the public's fear of the disease. "Younger people don't relate to HIV and AIDS as being as deadly as it was earlier, and there's been an increase in risky behavior," Whiticar said. An increase in the number of sexually transmitted disease cases and evidence of more risky behaviors makes an increase in HIV infections likely, he added, according to the Associated Press (Associated Press, 5/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.