February 6, 1997
REPORTED AIDS CASES INCREASED SLIGHTLY IN 1996
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The number of new AIDS cases reported in Illinois last year increased 1 percent over the number reported in 1995, according to statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In 1996, 2,212 AIDS cases were reported, bringing the cumulative total in Illinois since 1981 to 18,528, the sixth highest total in the United States. In 1995, 2,186 AIDS cases were reported.
Despite encouraging news over the last couple years that the spread of AIDS cases in Illinois has slowed or leveled off, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said the sobering fact is the disease continues to claim thousands of lives each year, many of them people in the prime of life.
In 1995, the most recent year for which complete death statistics are available, HIV infection was the ninth leading cause of death in Illinois. For persons 25 to 44 years of age, it was the second leading cause of death, claiming 1,072 lives and trailing only unintentional injuries (1,253).
"It is our continuing challenge to educate people about the disease and how it is spread and to prevent new infections from occurring," Dr. Lumpkin said. "People must then use their knowledge to 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.
"Unfortunately, some persons at risk of HIV infection view the new combination drug therapies, which have been shown to prolong and improve the quality of life for persons living with HIV, as a cure. The new drugs on the market today do represent a significant advance in treatment, but they do not represent a cure and the best treatment is to prevent HIV infection in the first place."
As has been the case since AIDS was first identified, the 1996 statistics show men still account for the majority of the cases (83 percent). Women accounted for 17 percent of the AIDS cases in 1996, down slightly from the 18 percent reported in 1995. However, the proportion of AIDS cases among women has increased steadily over the last several years from just 10 percent of the cases reported in 1991.
Men who have sex with men account for the largest number of AIDS cases (43 percent, the same percentage as 1995), followed by cases associated with injection drug use (31 percent, down from 32 percent in 1995) and heterosexual contact (8 percent, down from 11 percent in 1995).
The trend of racial disparity in AIDS cases continued in 1996. African Americans and Hispanics, who represent about one-quarter of the state's population, accounted for 68 percent, or 1,497, of the new cases reported. The two groups accounted for 65 percent of the cases in 1995, 60 percent in 1994 and 50 percent in 1990.
The number of cases among African Americans increased from 52 percent, or 1,143 cases, in 1995 to 56 percent, or 1,240 cases, in 1996. The percentage of cases among Hispanics remained the same as in 1995 and 1994 (12 percent). AIDS cases among whites decreased from 34 percent of the cases reported in 1995 to 31 percent in 1996.
"Effective intervention strategies are needed to sustain healthy behavioral patterns in African-American men and women who are not currently at risk and to facilitate change among those who are," Dr. Lumpkin said. "There must be a renewed commitment to providing AIDS prevention programs for at-risk minority individuals."
Geographically, reported AIDS cases in the city of Chicago increased 4 percent; cases in the Chicago metropolitan area, including Chicago, decreased 1 percent; and downstate cases increased 13 percent from 310 in 1995 to 351 in 1996. Downstate AIDS cases represented 16 percent of the state total in 1996, up from 14 percent in 1995.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments