February 5, 1998
REPORTED AIDS CASES DOWN 15 PERCENT IN ILLINOIS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- AIDS cases reported in Illinois last year declined 15 percent to the lowest annual total in seven years, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced today.
There were 1,863 AIDS cases reported in 1997, bringing the cumulative total in Illinois since 1981 to 20,386, the sixth highest total in the United States. In 1996, 2,185 cases were reported. Last year's AIDS total is the lowest annual figure since 1,616 were reported in 1991.
"This is a time to take note of the progress that has been made and then redouble our efforts to prevent further HIV infections from occurring," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "New and powerful drug combinations have shown promise in delaying the onset of AIDS in persons with HIV infection, but it is indisputable that HIV/AIDS remains a deadly disease for which there is no vaccine or cure."
As of Dec. 31, 12,943 Illinois residents have been reported to have died as a result of complications related to HIV and AIDS. Although HIV/AIDS deaths declined in 1996, the most recent year for which statistics are available, HIV infection was the 11th leading cause of all deaths (1,186) in the state. It was the fourth leading cause of death (836) for persons 25 to 49 years of age.
For those already HIV infected, Illinois' AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) helps make drugs available to those who cannot afford them. ADAP 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 52 other drugs. The Department's fiscal 1998 budget includes $16 million for 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 of 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 1,400 clients a month.
"The best treatment, however, remains preventing new infections of HIV," Dr. Lumpkin said. "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 illicit drugs."
Geographically, reported AIDS cases declined in all areas of the state. Cases were down 18 percent in Chicago; down 13 percent in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area, including Chicago; and down 22 percent in the 96 counties outside the Chicago area.
As has been the trend since the AIDS epidemic began, men accounted for the overwhelming majority of new cases in 1997: 1,524 reported cases among men (82 percent) as opposed to 339 cases reported among women. The number of cases among men was down 16 percent from 1996, while cases among women fell 9 percent.
Men contracted the majority of new cases from homosexual sex (894, down 9 percent) or injection drug use (384, down 26 percent). Injection drug use was the top mode of transmission for women (139 cases, down 26 percent), while heterosexual contact was next with 138 cases, up 3 percent from the previous year.
The AIDS epidemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on minority populations, with African Americans and Hispanics, who represent about 25 percent of the state's population, accounting for 64 percent, or 1,189, of the new cases reported. Cases among African Americans did decline by 20 percent in 1997 and Hispanic cases dropped 19 percent. Cases among whites fell 4 percent.
of Public Health
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