Women, Hispanics Represent Increasing Percentage of Connecticut’s New HIV, AIDS Cases, Study Says
Although the total number of new AIDS cases reported each year in Connecticut has declined since 1993, the percentage of AIDS cases occurring among women and Hispanics has increased, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health's 2003 HIV/AIDS survey, the AP/New Haven Register reports (AP/New Haven Register, 12/1). In 1993, Connecticut recorded 1,763 new AIDS cases, compared with about 600 new AIDS cases annually since 1998, and the number of AIDS-related deaths in the state declined 62% between 1995 and 1999. However, women in 2002 accounted for 31% of new AIDS cases, compared with 25% of new cases in 1993. In addition, Hispanics accounted for 32% of new AIDS cases in 2002, up from 25% in 1993 ("Epidemiological Profile of HIV and AIDS in Connecticut," Connecticut Department of Health Infectious Disease Division, 2003). In 2002 -- the first year that Connecticut recorded the number of new HIV infections -- 40% of newly reported HIV cases occurred among Hispanics, who account for less than 10% of Connecticut's population (AP/New Haven Register, 12/1). In 2002, women represented 43% of new HIV cases in the state ("Epidemiological Profile of HIV and AIDS in Connecticut," 2003). Approximately 50% of new HIV cases among women could be attributed to injection drug use and 40% could be attributed to sexual transmission. Injection drug use was the main cause of new HIV cases among Hispanics, according to the AP/Register.
Consistent With National Trends
Rosa Biaggi, director of the AIDS and chronic disease division of the state department of public health, said that Connecticut's HIV/AIDS statistics are consistent with national trends, adding that many Hispanics who contract HIV are new immigrants who lack English skills, education and access to health care, according to the AP/Register. "In almost every region that has prioritized Latinos as a group demanding attention, we have implemented programs targeting them," Biaggi said. She also said that new HIV testing strategies, including testing pregnant women for HIV before delivery in order to reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission, may account for the increase in the number of new HIV cases among women, according to the AP/Register (AP/New Haven Register, 12/1).