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AIDS Prevention Having an Effect

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The new study also sketches a 30-year picture of how the epidemic has evolved.

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Annual incidence peaked in 1985 at 130,000 infections, dipped to 49,000 in the early 1990s, rose to 58,000 in 1998 and has stabilized at about 56,000 a year.

The number of new of HIV cases acquired through drug injection fell by 80 percent over that period through reduced needle sharing by drug users and, in some places, needle-exchange programs. Infections acquired through homosexual sex, which also peaked in the early 1980s, fell to a low in the early 1990s but have risen steadily since then.

The epidemic in the black community is distinctly different from the national epidemic.

From 2001 to 2005, 38 percent of the new diagnoses in African Americans were in women, and 46 percent of new infections overall were from heterosexual contact. Among whites during the same period, 16 percent of new infections were in women, and 16 percent were from heterosexual transmission.

About half of the CDC's HIV prevention budget targets the black community, said Kevin Fenton, who heads those activities at the agency. He said, however, that the rising HIV incidence in gay men, and in young black gay men especially, is evidence that prevention campaigns have "not reached all those who need it."

Statistics compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 4 percent of the $23 billion the U.S. government is spending this year on all HIV-AIDS activities (including research, medical care and overseas programs) goes toward prevention.

According to a paper published last year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, in inflation-adjusted dollars, the CDC's budget for AIDS prevention in 2006 was only 5 percent higher than it was in 1990.


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