|February 8, 2000||Statewide
Reported AIDS Cases, 1998-1999
Reported AIDS Cases by County, 1990-1999
AIDS CASES UP AFTER TWO-YEAR DECLINE
SPRINGFIELD, IL After two years of declining AIDS caseloads, reports of new AIDS cases in Illinois jumped by 24 percent in 1999, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced today.
"Although we can only speculate on the reasons for the increase, the overriding message is clear. There is much that remains to be done before this disease is brought under control," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Let this be a lesson to everyone; AIDS is still with us. We must keep our guard up and spread the message about how this disease can be prevented."
Dr. Lumpkin noted the past few years have brought encouraging news that AIDS caseloads were dropping and AIDS deaths were falling, but no one in the public health field was under the mistaken impression that the deadly epidemic, which began in 1981, was close to being over.
"The sobering fact is that every day people in our state and country are becoming infected with this disease and hundreds of lives are lost each year, many of them people in the prime of life," he said. "Most people know how this disease is spread. However, recent studies have suggested that, because of the effective therapies that have become available in the last few years, significant numbers of persons at risk for HIV infection report they have become complacent and are less concerned about becoming infected and less conscientious about protecting themselves from infection.
"Unfortunately, this complacency can have tragic consequences. It remains vitally important that everyone refrain from sexual activity that can place them at risk; to practice safer sex, such as consistently and correctly using a latex condom; and to avoid the use of illegal drugs," Dr. Lumpkin said.
There were 1,557 AIDS cases reported in 1999, bringing the cumulative total in Illinois since 1981 to 23,094, the sixth highest total in the United States. Although the number of cases increased by 301 from the 1,256 reported in 1998, the state's annual total was the third lowest in the 1990s.
The number of reported cases peaked in 1994 when 3,008 were recorded and has declined every year since except 1996 (1 percent increase) and 1999. The 1999 total represents a 52 percent drop since 1994.
Dr. Lumpkin said the increase can be attributed, in part, to increased awareness among health care providers regarding HIV and AIDS reporting requirements. As part of an aggressive effort to encourage reporting of HIV cases by a new patient code identifier system that began July 1, 1999, the Department contacted physicians, other health providers and laboratories last year and explained the importance of providing the agency with AIDS and HIV case data.
The Department also began a new requirement last year that laboratories report test results showing cell counts indicating confirmation of an AIDS case, which has prompted AIDS case reports that had not previously been submitted.
Of the 1,557 cases reported last year, only 41 percent, or 634, were diagnosed in 1999. Although AIDS case reports routinely lag behind the actual year when the diagnosis was made, the number of cases diagnosed and reported in 1999 was 5 percent to 7 percent less than previous years.
The AIDS epidemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on minority populations. African Americans, who represent 15 percent of the state's population, accounted for 56 percent of the new cases reported in 1999. Reported AIDS cases among whites was 32 percent of the total and Hispanic cases were 11 percent. In comparison, at the beginning of the decade (1990), whites accounted for 49 percent of the reported cases that year, African Americans 37 percent and Hispanics 14 percent.
Since the Department began recording AIDS cases in 1981, cases among whites total 9,429 (41 percent), cases among African Americans total 10,770 (47 percent) and cases among Hispanics total 2,730 (12 percent).
"We need to do a better job of reaching out to the African-American community to effect behavioral changes that can prevent caseloads from increasing," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Since most AIDS cases impacting minorities occur in the Chicago area, in 1999, Gov. George H. Ryan provided the Chicago Department of Public Health $500,000 to develop a campaign to reach African Americans with AIDS/HIV messages and a similar amount will be earmarked in 2000."
As has been the case since the AIDS epidemic began, men accounted for the overwhelming majority of cases in 1999 -- 1,273 or 82 percent -- compared with 284 cases among women. The number of cases among men in 1999 was up 314, while cases among women declined by 13. The percentage of cases by gender has remained virtually the same since 1995, but there has been a marked change from 1990 when only 7 percent of the reported cases were among females.
Men who have sex with men remains the largest group with AIDS, but the percentage of cases in this risk category has seen a significant decline since 1990. In 1999, 54 percent of the cases among men resulted from men who have sex with men, down from 73 percent of the cases in 1990. The next highest risk category for men last year was injection drug use (22 percent), and then heterosexual contact (7 percent) and a combination of men who have sex with men and injection drug use (5 percent). Ten years ago injection drug use was the risk factor identified in 14 percent of the cases, heterosexual contact accounted for just 2 percent and the combination of men who have sex with men and injection drug use was 6 percent.
Among women, injection drug use was the most common risk factor, named in 36 percent of the cases, and heterosexual contact followed with 35 percent. In 1990, 45 percent of the cases were attributable to injection drug use and 27 percent were from heterosexual contact.
Geographically, reported cases in the metropolitan Chicago area jumped by 292 to 1,364, while downstate cases rose by nine to 193. Of the metropolitan Chicago cases, 210 were in the city of Chicago. Metropolitan Chicago cases in 1999 represented 88 percent of the state total, the same percentage recorded in 1990.
of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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