Public Health Officials Say Proportion of HIV/AIDS Cases Among Colorado’s Minorities Increasing
Colorado public health officials and AIDS advocates are worried that the proportion of HIV/AIDS cases among the state's minority populations is growing, despite a drop in the overall number of new AIDS diagnoses in the state since 1995, the Pueblo Chieftain reports. According to state statistics, 312 people were diagnosed with AIDS in 2003 -- the last year for which data are available -- down from 567 people in 1995, according to the Chieftain. However, the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases increased from 196 people in 1998 to 300 in 2002, the Chieftain reports (Roper, Pueblo Chieftain, 1/10). In 2004, Hispanics accounted for 23% of all HIV-positive people in Colorado, up from 22% in 2003, according to Jorge del Mazo, director of the Colorado AIDS Project's prevention program, the AP/Casper Star-Tribune reports. The HIV/AIDS case rate for Hispanic males in Colorado is nearly 13 per 100,000 people, which is almost double the rate among white men in the state, and the HIV/AIDS case rate for Hispanic women is nearly three times the case rate of white women in the state, according to the state health department (AP/Casper Star-Tribune, 1/10). "It has always been the case that minorities have had a disproportional share of HIV and AIDS," del Mazo said, adding, "[T]he level of education [and] the willingness to talk about AIDS and HIV in the Latino community hasn't changed much in Colorado since the 1980s." According to state statistics, about 75% of new HIV/AIDS cases reported annually occur among men who have sex with men, and Hispanic MSM ages 30 to 39 in 2001 represented the largest proportion of that population. "[T]he Latino community still attaches a strong stigma to homosexuality and discussions of sex in general," del Mazo said (Pueblo Chieftain, 1/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.