ATLANTA, JAN. 24 -- The death toll from AIDS in the United States has topped 100,000, with nearly one-third dying last year, and is escalating, federal health officials said today.
Of 161,073 AIDS cases reported since June 1981, 100,777 people had died by the end of December, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, citing new statistics. CDC researchers projected that, in the next three years, as many as 215,000 more Americans will die of AIDS.
"The epidemic is here," said Dr. Ruth Berkelman, chief of the CDC's AIDS Surveillance Branch. "We see from these numbers alone that AIDS has already taken an incredibly heavy toll, and there's no letup in sight."
Last year, 31,196 Americans died of AIDS. Over the last two years, 55,460 have died, more than died in the first eight years after the disease was discovered.
Federal health officials estimate that 1 million Americans are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. "Of these, an estimated 165,000 to 215,000 will die during 1991-1993," the CDC said.
Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates more than 300,000 AIDS cases and about 10 million people infected with the virus.
In the United States, 90 percent of AIDS victims are male and nearly 75 percent are between ages 25 and 44, according to the CDC.
Homosexual or bisexual men and intravenous drug abusers of both sexes are at highest risk, accounting for more than 86 percent of AIDS deaths.