Number of New AIDS Cases in L.A. County Increases for First Time in More Than 10 Years, Preliminary Data Show
The number of newly reported AIDS cases in Los Angeles County increased in 2002 for the first time in more than a decade, according to preliminary data released on Tuesday by the county Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The number of new AIDS cases increased 0.5% from 1,555 in 2001 to 1,562 in 2002 (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 2/17). The number of newly reported AIDS cases rose only among men, by 1.6% over the previous year. Among women, the number of new AIDS cases decreased 6%, according to Agence France-Presse. Most of the new AIDS cases among men occurred among whites and Asian-Pacific Islanders, which is the group with the lowest AIDS prevalence nationwide (Agence France-Presse, 2/18). Since 1993, the number of people living with AIDS in Los Angeles County has doubled to more than 19,000, and another 25,000 to 35,000 county residents are HIV-positive. County Public Health Director Dr. Jonathan Fielding said, "I think this is a wake-up call in a sense that we have a lot of indications there is an increase in high-risk sexual behavior. Although this increase is small, it may well signal an end to the yearly decline in new AIDS cases we have been seeing since 1992" (Los Angeles Daily News, 2/17). Gordon Bunch of the county's HIV/AIDS epidemiology program said, "Because the increase comes at a time when we have also increased our ability to detect new HIV and AIDS cases using laboratory reporting, it is too early to know if what we are seeing is a real increase or just a one-time anomaly due to the new expanded surveillance" (Agence France-Presse, 2/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.