San Francisco Health Department Recommends Lowering Number of New Annual HIV Cases Estimate
The San Francisco HIV Prevention Planning Council at a meeting on April 13 is scheduled to consider a draft recommendation by city Department of Public Health epidemiologist Willi McFarland that proposes lowering the city's official estimate of the number of new HIV cases expected annually from 1,084 to 976, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/31). City health officials in 2001 estimated the number of new HIV cases annually increased from 500 in 1997 to 1,084 in 2001 (Bajko, Bay Area Reporter, 3/30). However, a CDC study released in June 2005 says that San Francisco's HIV-incidence rate among men who have sex with men has reduced by almost half in the last four years. The study, based on a survey of 365 MSM who were tested in the city, finds an annual incidence rate of 1.2%, compared with city epidemiologists' previous estimate of 2.2%. The study, led by the health department's Office of AIDS, analyzed data sets collected by the Stop AIDS Project and surveys of new cases at city clinics, both of which indicated a similar decrease in the number of new HIV cases (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/21/05). The draft recommendation is based on new data from 12 programs that monitor the epidemic in the city, as well as reports on sexual behavior trends and reports from physicians and clinics that provide anonymous tests, the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/31). The draft recommendation estimates that 772 of the 976 new estimated HIV cases annually would be among MSM (Bay Area Reporter, 3/30). "It hasn't changed that much," McFarland said, adding, "[B]ut the fact is, we've reversed a trend. There is some evidence that our efforts at prevention are working." The city estimates that 18,735 residents are HIV-positive, and since 1981, 17,917 city residents have died of AIDS-related causes (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.