Main | Friday, March 28, 2008

New HIV Infections Up 48%

Despite that the 2006 data includes cases from seven states that previously had not reported new HIV infections to the CDC, AIDS activists and government researchers are "stunned" by a 48% increase in new infections over 2005.
Reported new HIV infections in the United States increased by 48 percent in 2006 according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The stunning figures, in the CDC Surveillance Report, comes in advance of a long anticipated in depth review of HIV infections that was to have been released early this year but is believed to be months away.

The CDC said last December at the HIV Prevention Conference that it was working on new estimation methods but the federal agency has delayed release of the document. In its Surveillance Report the CDC this week said there were 52,878 new HIV infections in 45 states and the District of Columbia for 2006. In 2005, CDC reported only 35,537 new infections in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

HIV/AIDS groups say that the increase is alarming, despite an increase in the number of state reporting. The seven new states for which CDC is reporting HIV data for the first time in 2006 are: California, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

"New CDC data showing a 48% higher incidence of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2006 compared with 2005 are just the latest piece of bad news about the sexual health of the American people," said Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC).
Keeping in mind that this spike is fueled in part by better reporting, the news is still sobering, to say the least. I probably should rattle off the "get tested, play safe" mantra, but maybe it's more useful to remind you that by far the most infectious person is the freshly-seroconverted guy who truly believes he is negative.

It doesn't matter how often or how recently you've been tested. Even with "rapid testing" the average time between infection and detectable antibodies is still 25 days. If you are regularly sexually active and somebody asks if you are HIV+, there are only two possible answers: "Yes" and "I don't know." Those guys that trumpet the date of their negative test in their hook-up profiles must believe in time travel. Treat every "negative" partner as if he were just infected yesterday. Because if he passes the virus to you, he probably was.

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