February 3, 1995
AIDS CASES INCREASE 3 PERCENT IN 1994; HIV INFECTION SECOND LEADING KILLER OF YOUNG ADULTS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The number of AIDS cases reported in Illinois last year increased 3 percent over the number reported in 1993, according to statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In 1994, 3,118 AIDS cases were reported, bringing the cumulative total in Illinois since 1981 to 14,299, the sixth highest state total in the United States. In 1993, there were 3,024 cases reported.
The Department also reported that in 1993, the most recent year for which complete death statistics are available, HIV infection was the second leading killer in Illinois of young adults 25 to 44 years of age, trailing only unintentional injuries. Unintentional injuries killed 953 young adults in 1993, while HIV infection claimed the lives of 929. Since the first case of AIDS was reported in 1981, 8,794 Illinois residents have died with HIV infection.
"This deadly disease continues to extract an intolerable toll of human pain and suffering, primarily among the state's youth, and the outlook for the near future is not any better," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "The growing frustration is people have come to accept AIDS and HIV sickness and death as something that is inevitable, instead of something that can be prevented."
"We know how this disease is spread and, by making healthy behavioral changes, how it can be prevented. People simply must talk about HIV, learn the sexual and drug using behaviors that can place them at risk of HIV infection, and then use that knowledge, whether it is to refrain from sexual activity; practice safer sex, such as consistently and correctly using a latex condom; or avoiding the use of illegal drugs," Dr. Lumpkin said.
"As we say in the state's most recent AIDS public education campaign, `Let's TALK about HIV. Shouldn't you know?'" Dr. Lumpkin said. "We all need to educate ourselves about this disease."
The campaign, which features nationally known talk show hosts, was launched in August 1994 to motivate people to seek information about HIV infection and AIDS. Talk show hosts who volunteered to record television and radio public service announcements were Leeza Gibbons, Montel Williams, Jerry Springer, Bertice Berry, Cristina Saralegui, Maria Laria and Rebeca Rambal.
Overall, the 1994 AIDS statistics show homosexual/bisexual men still account for the majority of AIDS cases, but more and more cases are associated with injection drug use and heterosexual transmission, which has resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of women affected by the AIDS epidemic.
In 1994, homosexual/bisexual men represented the highest percentage of cases (49.5 percent) and the largest number (1,545), a 9 percent increase over 1993. However, for only the second time in the history of AIDS in Illinois, cases reporting homosexual/bisexual behavior were less than half the state's annual total.
AIDS cases reporting a risk factor of heterosexual contact jumped 41 percent, from 294 in 1993 to 414 in 1994, and the proportion of AIDS cases among women continued the steady rise that has been noticed the past several years.
Cases reporting heterosexual contact accounted for 13.3 percent of all the AIDS cases in 1994, up from 9.7 percent in 1993. Women represented 15.1 percent of the cases reported in 1994, compared with 14.8 percent in 1993. The number of reported AIDS cases among men was 2,646, up 3 percent over 1993.
"With the number of cases among women continuing to rise, it is imperative that we reinforce the need to educate women to protect themselves and, if they are considering having a child, to protect their baby," Dr. Lumpkin said.
Dr. Lumpkin said women-at-risk who are contemplating getting pregnant should be counseled by their physician about HIV infection and testing. New scientific studies have shown that drug treatment of an HIV-infected woman while pregnant can reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to the baby.
Geographically, AIDS cases in the city of Chicago increased 5 percent; cases in the Chicago metropolitan area, including Chicago, increased 8 percent; and downstate cases declined 26 percent. Two counties -- Edwards and Hardin -- reported AIDS cases for the first time, bringing to 96 the number of Illinois counties that have reported an AIDS case.
Although African Americans and Hispanics represent only about one-quarter of the state's population, they accounted for 60.2 percent, or 1,889, of the new AIDS cases reported in 1994. African-American cases were down slightly, from 1,528 in 1993 to 1,505 in 1994, while cases among Hispanics increased 8 percent, from 356 in 1993 to 383 in 1994. AIDS cases among whites increased 8 percent, from 1,122 to 1,209.
The numbers of cases reported in 1993 and 1994 were significantly higher than in previous years due to the Jan. 1, 1993, implementation of a new AIDS case definition by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As was predicted, with the new case definition, Illinois AIDS cases increased by 60 percent in 1993, but the number of cases reported in 1994 leveled off.
The objective of the CDC's new case definition was to more accurately reflect the number of persons with HIV-related disease and AIDS. The broadened AIDS surveillance case definition includes all HIV-infected persons who have less than 200 CD-4 cells per microliter of blood, or about one-fifth the normal levels, and added three illnesses to 23 other complicating ailments listed in the old definition, which was devised by CDC in 1987. The three conditions added were pulmonary tuberculosis, invasive cervical cancer and recurrent pneumonia.
Persons with questions about AIDS, HIV or state-sponsored counseling and testing sites can call the Department's toll-free AIDS hotline, 1-800-AID-AIDS, or TTY (hearing impaired use only) 1-800-782-0423, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments