New HIV Cases Among Minnesota Hispanics Almost Doubled Last Year; Culturally Appropriate Prevention Measures Called for
The number of Hispanics newly diagnosed with HIV nearly doubled in Minnesota within one year, suggesting more culturally appropriate prevention efforts are needed to raise awareness among the group, according to a report released Monday by the state health department, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The number of new HIV cases among Hispanics increased from 23 in 2005 to 44 in 2006, while the overall number of new cases in the state went from 304 in 2005 to 318 in 2006, according to the report. The report also found that:
- Among all males ages 13 to 24, the number of new HIV cases doubled to 35 between 2002 and 2006 (Olson, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/17);
- While Hispanics had the highest increase in new HIV cases, American Indian men had the second highest number of new cases (AP/St. Cloud Times, 4/16);
- New HIV cases among male blacks, African immigrants and whites remained steady in 2006 (Minnesota Health Department release, 4/16);
- Racial minorities and African immigrants continue to have disproportionately high rates of HIV;
- Blacks make up 45% of new HIV cases among males and 68% of new HIV cases among females. However, the numbers among African-born women has declined steadily since 2003 (Lerner, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/16); and
- Minorities accounted for 67% of all new HIV cases among women in 2006.
State health officials attribute the higher number of new cases among minorities to cultural and language barriers, social stigma, racism, and a lack of access to health care and resources (MHD release, 4/16). Linda Teel, executive director of the Minnesota AIDS Project, said the report suggests that more prevention efforts are needed to target minority communities. "Public health research has shown that using proven, culturally relevant prevention methods (is) the only sure way to stop HIV infection and reduce transmission," she said. Luisa Pessoa-Brandao, Minnesota's HIV/AIDS surveillance coordinator, said it is unclear if the increase is a rising trend or an anomaly but added that the increase "is definitely something we're going to watch because the numbers jumped dramatically" (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/17).
The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to view the report. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.