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Report shows increase in HIV/AIDS cases

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows nearly an 8 percent increase in HIV infections, with 315 cases reported in 2012 compared to 292 HIV cases reported in 2011.

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows nearly an 8 percent increase in HIV infections, with 315 cases reported in 2012 compared to 292 HIV cases reported in 2011.

A cumulative total of 10,112 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported since MDH began tracking AIDS in 1982 and HIV in 1985. There are an estimated 7,516 persons living with HIV in the state.

A further breakdown of the data shows where the epidemic is most burdensome:

  • New HIV cases remain concentrated within the Twin Cities metropolitan area (83 percent) but increases were seen in all geographical regions, except the suburbs, in 2012 compared to 2011.
  • More than one in three reported HIV cases were among 20 to 29 year olds.
  • The number of cases among injection drug users rose from 11 cases in 2011 to 23 cases in 2012, with the biggest increase seen in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Communities of color and American Indians experienced the greatest health disparities when looking at infection rates by race and ethnicity compared to whites.
  • Cases among males increased by 17 percent. Male-to-male sex was the main risk factor for males of all ages with known risk factors, making up 69 percent of male cases. Young males 13 to 24 years of age accounted for 22 percent of all new male cases in 2012.
  • Cases occurring among females dropped 19 percent. Women of color accounted for 80 percent of all new female cases.

Among people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, communities of color and American Indians and men who have sex with men continue to be over-represented.
Health officials noted that HIV infection still remains highly preventable even though there is no cure or vaccine. Consistently practicing safer sex, as well as avoiding the sharing of needles or equipment to tattoo, body pierce or inject drugs have been proven to prevent the spread of HIV.

Annual HIV screening is recommended for those at risk who have had unprotected sex, a new sexual partner, or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs.

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