Southeastern Idaho Sees Recent Increase in Recorded HIV Cases
The Southeastern District Health Department of Idaho announced a large increase in the number of newly reported HIV cases over the past three weeks, the AP/Idaho Statesman reports. According to the health department, 10 men and one woman have tested HIV-positive over the past three weeks. About half of the 19 new cases reported this year have been linked to people meeting over the Internet, according to the AP/Idaho Statesman (AP/Idaho Statesman, 10/10). The southeastern health department has recorded 19 total new cases so far this year, compared with eight new cases reported last year, according to KPVI.com. Health Promotion Director Maggie Mann said, "Normally, it's a pretty low prevalence; we may get one here and there. Occasionally a group of three or four at a time but that's unusual. So this increase is definitely out of the norm."
The health department is encouraging people who believe they might be at risk of HIV to be tested for the virus (KPVI.com, 10/9). It also is considering increasing the number of clinics that provide HIV tests in southeastern Idaho. David Hachey -- a physician who runs a clinic in Pocatello, Idaho -- said that people in small communities are less likely to consider themselves at risk of HIV and that improvements in HIV/AIDS treatment have led people to engage in risky behavior. "For someone who gets an HIV diagnosis, the life expectancy is very good," Hachey said, adding, "The medications we're using to treat it are giving people extended life expectancies that are almost normal. A lot of the fear we saw in the 1980s and 1990s of people dying, now we're just not seeing that" (AP/Idaho Statesman, 10/10).