October 15, 1997
FIRST-EVER DECLINE IN DEATHS
DUE TO HIV INFECTION
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- For the first time since the AIDS epidemic began in 1981, Illinois has recorded a decline in the number of deaths due to AIDS and HIV infection, the Illinois Department of Public Health today announced.
There were 1,186 AIDS/HIV deaths in the state in 1996, down 21 percent from the 1,494 deaths reported in 1995. The number of AIDS/HIV deaths was the lowest annual total since 1,050 were recorded in 1991.
Illinois HIV death statistics, which also reflect the national trend, appear to provide evidence that the use of powerful combinations of drugs, including antiretroviral therapies such as protease inhibitors, and other medical advances have helped save lives.
"Despite this encouraging news, to succeed in the fight against AIDS and HIV we must prevent HIV infection from occurring in the first place," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "New combination drug therapies have shown great promise in prolonging and improving the quality of life for persons with HIV, but recent studies have found the drugs may be failing in about half of those treated."
"No one should have the mistaken impression that these new drugs represent a cure for this deadly disease. The best treatment remains preventing new infections. People must use their knowledge about this disease 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," Dr. Lumpkin said.
For those already HIV infected, Dr. Lumpkin said, the state must continue to strive to make the drugs available to those who cannot afford them.
Illinois' AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) is one of the most comprehensive in the United States. It provides all four protease inhibitors and all seven anti-retrovirals that have been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and 51 other drugs. Gov. Jim Edgar proposed, and the Illinois General Assembly approved, spending $16 million this fiscal year on ADAP, nearly three times the amount spent on the program just two years ago.
To qualify for ADAP, a person must be an Illinois resident diagnosed with AIDS or HIV infection, have an annual income no more than two times the federal poverty level, and be ineligible for 80 percent or greater insurance coverage for drugs through another third party payer or for payment of prescription drugs from any other governmental entity. ADAP serves about 1,500 clients a month.
The drop in HIV deaths in Illinois occurred among both males and females, but men saw the biggest decline. Deaths among all men fell from 1,309 in 1995 to 1,006 in 1996 (-23.1 percent) and deaths among women were down from 185 in 1995 to 180 in 1996 (-2.7 percent).
Along racial lines, the decline in deaths was most prominent among white males, down from 715 in 1995 to 482 in 1996 (-32.6 percent), compared with a 12.9 percent drop among black males (589 in 1995; 513 in 1996). Deaths among white females fell 8.3 percent (72 in 1995; 66 in 1996), while deaths among black females increased from 113 in 1995 to 114 in 1996, or about 1 percent.
"Clearly we must reach out to all populations," Dr. Lumpkin said. "In particular, we must ensure that women and minority communities have effective prevention programs and quality medical care."
The number of AIDS/HIV deaths reported in Illinois over the past seven years were, 1990, 837; 1991, 1,050; 1992, 1,212; 1993, 1,439; 1994, 1,482; 1995, 1,494; and 1996, 1,186.
In 1996, HIV infection was the 11th leading cause of death in Illinois, compared with ninth in 1995. It was the fourth leading cause of death for persons 25 to 49 years of age (836) in 1996, down from the second leading cause in 1995 (1,072). HIV infection deaths for the 25 to 49 age group trailed accidents (1,111), cancer (943) and heart disease (850).
The number of AIDS cases in Illinois peaked in 1994 when 3,040 were reported. The following year, 1995, reported AIDS cases declined 28 percent, the first annual decrease recorded in the state since the epidemic began in 1981, to 2,186. In 1996, AIDS cases increased 1 percent to 2,212.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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