CDC Releases Surveillance Report on U.S. 2006 HIV/AIDS CasesCDC last week released its annual HIV/AIDS surveillance report, which found that the number of reported HIV cases in 2006 was higher compared with previous years, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the Journal, the higher number of reported HIV cases reflects CDC's "improved surveillance system rather than a rise in the epidemic" (Wall Street Journal, 3/31).
According to the report, the number of reported HIV cases based on data from 45 states and five dependent territories with confidential name-based reporting was 52,878 in 2006. Five states -- Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana and Vermont -- were not included in the data. The 2006 data for the first time included the seven states -- California, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington -- which have now implemented confidential, name-based reporting. The comparable number of HIV cases reported in 2005 was 35,537 based on data from 38 states and five territories (CDC release, 3/27). The number of HIV/AIDS cases in the 33 states and five areas with long-standing reporting has remained stable from 2003 to 2006, according to the report (Wall Street Journal, 3/31).
"No matter how the CDC tries to spin these numbers, the fact remains that the numbers they've been reporting for years have been inaccurate and have incorrectly portrayed the U.S. epidemic as static at roughly 40,000 new infections per year," Whitney Engeran, director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Public Health Division, said, adding, "We missed a crucial opportunity to work with Congress to adjust the budget to better reflect the needs of the populations affected because of the CDC's delay in reporting these numbers" (AHF release, 3/27). Robert Janssen, director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said that the report does not "show an increase in HIV/AIDS diagnoses." He added, "The higher number of reported HIV diagnoses in 2006 ... is due to the fact that this table includes data from states that have newly implemented confidential name-based HIV reporting as of 2006, including highly populous states like California, Illinois and Washington" (CDC release, 2/28).
The report is available online (.pdf).
A Kaiser Family Foundation fact sheet with the 2006 data is available online. Several state indicators also have been updated on statehealthfacts.org. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.