More HIV/AIDS Diagnoses in Black Men, African Immigrants Contributed to Overall Increase in Minnesota HIV/AIDS Cases, Officials Say
The number of new HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in Minnesota is the highest since 1995, with some of the sharpest increases among U.S.-born black men and African immigrants, Minnesota Department of Health officials said on Tuesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (Wolfe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/15). The increase resulted in part from higher diagnosis rates among black men, African-born residents and young men who have sex with men, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 2007, there were 325 new HIV cases diagnosed, compared with 279 in 2003, according to the Pioneer Press. Peter Carr, director of MDH's STD and HIV Section, said the annual number of cases diagnosed has not exceeded 320 since the mid-1990s (Olson, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/15).
Compared with whites, rates of new infection cases for minorities were 13 times higher among blacks, 28 times higher among African immigrants and eight times higher among Hispanics. According to MDH, of the 325 new cases in 2007, 249 were in men, of which 52% were white, 32% black, 13% Hispanic and 3% other minorities. Seventy-six of the new cases were in women, of which 54% were black, 26% white, 9% Hispanic, 7% American Indian and 4% other minorities. MDH said that in 2007, new cases:
- Increased from 125 to 129 among white men;
- Increased by 42% among black men born in the U.S., from 36 to 54;
- Increased by 33% among African-born men, from 18 to 24; and
- Declined among Hispanic men, from 37 to 33.
MHD said the racial differences can be attributed to lower education, less access to health care, higher poverty rates, racism and higher drug use among minorities (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/15). Lorraine Teel, executive director of the Minnesota AIDS Project, said the state needs to improve its HIV/ADS education efforts among racial and age groups that are most at risk. She said, "Stigma and fear about even discussing HIV needs to be addressed directly to find solutions in order to stop these troubling trends" (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/15). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.