|Januray 20, 1999||Illinois HIV/AIDS Deaths by County, 1996-1997|
|Illinois HIV/AIDS Deaths, 1991-1997|
AIDS-RELATED DEATHS FALL 52 PERCENT IN 1997
SPRINGFIELD, IL AIDS-related deaths in Illinois dropped by 52 percent in 1997 to the lowest level in a decade, the Illinois Department of Public Health today reported.
There were 569 HIV/AIDS deaths in the state in 1997, down from the 1,186 deaths reported in 1996. The number of HIV/AIDS deaths was the lowest annual total since 500 were recorded in 1988.
Deaths from AIDS peaked in 1995 when 1,494 were reported, then decreased for the first time in 1996; and the drop accelerated in 1997. Figures for 1998 will not be available until the fall of this year.
"The decline signals that medical advancements made in the past couple years are having a dramatic impact in helping those with HIV and AIDS to live longer," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "While it is indeed encouraging that the use of potent drug combinations has revolutionized AIDS care and saved lives, the fight against AIDS still must be won by preventing HIV infection in the first place."
About 22,000 persons from Illinois have been diagnosed with AIDS since the disease was first identified in 1981 and 64 percent of them have died. An estimated 28,000 to 38,000 others may be infected and living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
"No one should mistake this positive news as an end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has taken the lives of nearly 14,000 Illinoisans," Dr. Lumpkin said. "The best way to curb this disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. People must use their knowledge of how this disease is spread to protect themselves from infection. They should refrain from sexual activity that can place them at risk; practice safer sex, such as consistently and correctly using a latex condom; and avoid the use of illegal drugs."
HIV deaths fell among both males and females, but men saw the biggest decline. Deaths among men fell 55 percent, from 1,006 in 1996 to 453 in 1997, while deaths among women declined 36 percent from 180 in 1996 to 116 in 1997.
Along racial lines, the drop in deaths was most prominent among white males, down 62 percent from 482 in 1996 to 181 in 1997, compared with a 47 percent drop among black males from 513 in 1996 to 271 in 1997. Deaths among white females fell 61 percent from 66 in 1996 to 26 in 1997, while deaths among black females decreased 23 percent from 114 in 1996 to 88 in 1997.
The number of HIV/AIDS deaths reported over the past 10 years were 1988, 500; 1989, 770; 1990, 837; 1991, 1,050; 1992, 1,212; 1993, 1,439; 1994, 1,482; 1995, 1,494; 1996, 1,186; and 1997, 569.
In 1997, HIV infection was the 17th leading cause of death in Illinois, compared with 11th in 1996. It was the sixth leading cause of death for persons 25 to 44 years of age (378) in 1997, down from the fourth leading cause in 1996 (836). HIV infection deaths in the 25 to 44 age group trailed accidents (1,162), cancer (1,032), heart disease (846), homicide (469) and suicide (395).
For those already infected and struggling with HIV and AIDS, Dr. Lumpkin said the state is committed to make the life-savings 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 five protease inhibitors and all 13 anti-retrovirals that have been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and 48 other drugs. The program's $16 million budget for fiscal 1999 is 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 at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and not have third party coverage that pays 80 percent or more of the cost for prescription drugs or for payment of prescription drugs from any other government entity. ADAP serves about 1,600 clients a month.
Prescriptions for the so-called multi-drug cocktails generally two older AIDS drugs plus one of the newer protease inhibitors often start as soon as a person learns the or she is infected with HIV. These medicines can reduce the amount of virus in the bloodstream, sometimes so low that it cannot even be measured. Many who were extremely ill when the combination therapies came into wide-spread use two years ago are now reporting good health.
The drugs, however, do not work for everyone and no one knows how long the benefits will last.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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