Number of Newly Recorded HIV Cases Increased for Third Consecutive Year in Minnesota in 2008, Report Finds
Minnesota saw an increase in the number of newly reported HIV cases in 2008 to 326, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Wednesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. According to the Star Tribune, it was the third consecutive annual increase in newly recorded HIV cases. Peter Carr -- director of the sexually transmitted infections and HIV section of the department -- said that Minnesota has had an average of 320 new cases reported for the last three years, up from an average of 300 in 2001.
According to the Star Tribune, the increase in the number of cases among men ages 13 to 24 and men who have sex with men is causing concern among public health officials. Young men accounted for 42 new cases in 2008, up from 18 in 2002. Some health experts point to better HIV treatment, which has led some people to believe that the disease is manageable, and apathy toward the disease as a reason for the increase. According to the report, minorities are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, with minority men, who represent 12% of the male population, accounting for 39% of new cases among all men. Minority women, who make up 11% of the female population, accounted for 70% of new cases among all women, according to the report. Carr said, "Socioeconomic status appears to be the most important factor in communities and neighborhoods where higher rates" of HIV were reported, adding that low economic status could result in a lack of insurance and limited access to health care, among other factors such as homelessness and stigma.
The report also showed that the number of HIV cases among immigrants has increased from 19 in 1990 to 62 in 2008, driven mostly by an increase in African-born immigrants and immigrants from Central and South America, the Star Tribune reports. An estimated 6,220 people are living with HIV in the state, health officials said, adding that there could be an additional 2,000 people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status (Marcotty, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/15).