Wisconsin Records 417 New HIV Cases in 2004, Highest Annual Number Since 1997
Wisconsin in 2004 recorded 417 new HIV cases, a 14.5% increase over the number reported in 2003 and the highest annual total of new cases since 1997, according to a report released Friday by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Griffin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/26). In addition, the number of new AIDS cases increased from 237 in 2003 to 266 in 2004. Since the state's first reported HIV case in 1982, 8,743 HIV cases have been recorded and 5,690 AIDS cases have been reported in the state, according to the report. Nearly 59% of all AIDS cases have been among men who have sex with men, and 15.1% of cases have been among injection drug users (DHFS report, 2005). "This is a huge crisis," Michael Gifford, chief operating officer for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, said, adding, "We need to be assured that our care and treatment systems are prepared because, to many people who have HIV, access to health care is their only hope for a longer, healthier life." Owen Mahon, executive director of the not-for-profit HIV prevention group House of Infiniti, said, "We are noticing, even in our casual conversations with men, that there is an increase in unprotected sex again, and that's a major, major problem." Gifford said that Gov. Jim Doyle's (D) 2005-2007 budget proposal includes $500,000 in new funding for the state's HIV care and treatment system, the first increase since 2001 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.