|February 9, 1999|
REPORTED AIDS CASES FALL BY A THIRD IN 1998
SPRINGFIELD, IL New AIDS cases in Illinois fell by a third in 1998, continuing the downward trend in recent years that has been attributed to the development of potent new drug therapies and ongoing prevention efforts, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported today.
There were 1,256 AIDS cases reported in 1998, bringing the cumulative total in Illinois since 1981 to 21,557, the sixth highest state total in the United States behind New York, California, Florida, Texas and New Jersey. In 1997, 1,863 cases were reported. Last year's AIDS total is the lowest annual figure since 1,214 were reported in 1990.
"For four straight years we have seen AIDS cases decline as the public heeds the prevention messages that have been repeatedly delivered and as medical technology makes dramatic progress in treating HIV infection," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Despite this encouraging news, it is not time for complacency. HIV/AIDS remains a deadly, but preventable disease. We can applaud the fact caseloads are down, but we must continue efforts to stop HIV infections from occurring."
In addition, Dr. Lumpkin said, with fewer HIV-infected persons being diagnosed with AIDS, it is logical to assume the number of those living in Illinois with the virus will increase. These higher numbers, he said, will mean increased demand for AIDS-fighting drugs and more accessible health care. Spending on the Department's AIDS Drug Reimbursement Program has increased from $2.4 million in fiscal year 1995 to $16 million in the current fiscal year.
Illinois does not require HIV reporting by name or identifier, but it is estimated that 28,000 to 38,000 may be infected and living with HIV. Beginning July 1, the Department will begin a two-year pilot program requiring health care providers to report HIV cases using a patient code number.
While progress was made in most AIDS categories, it was somewhat uneven. AIDS cases declined at a slower rate among women and minorities and grew among men through heterosexual contact.
As has been the case since the AIDS epidemic began, men accounted for about three-fourths of the cases in 1998, or 959, compared with 297 cases among women. However, while cases among men fell 37 percent, cases among women were down only 12 percent, which increased the female proportion of cases from 18 percent in 1997 to 24 percent in 1998.
In addition, the AIDS epidemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on minority populations. African Americans and Hispanics, who represent about 24 percent of the state's population, accounted for nearly three-fourths, or 892, of the new cases reported. Cases among African Americans did decline 27 percent in 1998 and Hispanic cases fell by 17 percent, while white cases dropped by nearly half.
About half the cases among men were the result of men who have sex with men, followed by 29 percent attributed to injection drug use. Heterosexual contact accounted for 9 percent, or 82 cases, up from just 3 percent, or 52 cases, in 1997.
Among females, injection drug use was the most frequently listed risk factor with 132, or 44 percent of all new cases reported in 1998. Heterosexual contact was next with 117 cases, or nearly 40 percent. Injection drug use was down 7 percent from the previous year and heterosexual contact was off 21 percent.
Geographically, reported cases in Chicago declined 36 percent and downstate cases fell 31 percent. Metropolitan Chicago cases, including Chicago, dipped by a third from 1,284 to 819.
of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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