New HIV/AIDS Diagnoses Stable, But Significant Racial Differences Still Exist, CDC Data Show
New HIV/AIDS diagnoses remained level between 2001 and 2004, but blacks and Hispanics are still more likely to be newly diagnosed with HIV than whites, according to CDC data from 33 states published on Friday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. Overall, there were 20.7 newly reported HIV cases per 100,000 people in 2004, not significantly different from 22.8 per 100,000 in 2001. The rate of new diagnoses is highest among blacks despite decreases every year between 2001 and 2004 (McKenna, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/18). The rate of HIV/AIDS diagnoses among blacks decreased an average of 5% annually since 2001, declining from 88.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2001 to 76.3 cases per 100,000 in 2004 (Stobbe, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/18). However, blacks in 2004 were 8.4 times as likely as whites to be newly diagnosed with HIV. Ronald Valdiserri, acting director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said, "Overall, new HIV diagnoses continue to disproportionately and severely impact African Americans, both men and women," adding, "This is not new, but it is critical that we do not become complacent" (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 11/18). The rate of new HIV diagnoses among Hispanics, who accounted for 18% of new HIV diagnoses between 2001 and 2004, was more than three times that of whites in 2004 (Ricks, Long Island Newsday, 11/17). The rate of newly reported HIV cases among Asian and Pacific Islanders increased an average of 9% during the study period, but the group's 2004 rate of 7.2 per 100,000 was the lowest among any racial or ethnic population group (Espinoza et al., MMWR, 11/18).
New Diagnoses Increase Among MSM in 2004, IDU Cases Down
Although the number of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men remained "relatively stable" between 2001 and 2003, the number of new cases among MSM increased 8% from 2003 to 2004, the Washington Times reports (Price, Washington Times, 11/18). However, CDC said the increase might indicate that more MSM are seeking HIV testing rather than an increase in the number of HIV-positive MSM (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/18). CDC also said that the number of new cases among injection drug users decreased 9% during the study period, and cases linked to heterosexual contact decreased 4%, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/18). CDC attributed the drop in the number of cases among IDUs in part to a decreasing number of diagnoses in the group in New York City, where programs such as needle exchanges have been implemented (Long Island Newsday, 11/17).
The data were collected from 33 states that have had confidential, name-based HIV/AIDS reporting systems for at least four years, the Journal-Constitution reports. CDC is using HIV cases to try to better monitor the U.S. epidemic. The agency previously tracked AIDS cases but found that data less useful as new drug therapies lengthened the time between HIV infection and progression to AIDS (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/18). For the first time, the report included statistics from New York, where about 20% of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses occurred over the period (Long Island Newsday, 11/17). Valdiserri noted that because the report includes data from New York, it is not comparable to previous years' reports (Los Angeles Times, 11/18). California, Illinois and several other states that represent a significant number of cases were not included. In 2002, 10% of all U.S. AIDS cases occurred in California and 5% of all AIDS cases nationwide occurred in Illinois, the Miami Herald reports (Tasker, Miami Herald, 11/18). According to CDC recommendations, name-based reporting is more accurate than using numeric and alphabetic coding. Beginning next year, some federal funding distributed under the Ryan White CARE Act will be associated with the number of HIV cases in each state, as reported by states to CDC (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/15).