HIV/AIDS Numbers Are Way Off

Published August 7, 2008

Posted Aug. 5, 2008 –  There are more Americans newly infected with HIV/AIDS than previously thought, the U.S.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday.

About 56,000 people became infected with HIV in the past year, which is roughly 40 percent more cases than officials had estimated, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

Previous CDC estimates suggested about 40,000 new people were infected each year. But those estimates used "limited data and less precise methods," said the center, which is now using technology capable of determining when someone was infected.

The new method can indicate whether someone has been infected with HIV during the past five months, rather than relying on statistical models. Diagnosis of HIV can occur years after infection, he said. "

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The fact that 56,000 Americans each year are contracting HIV for the first time is a wake-up call for all of us in the U.S.," Fenton said.

"These numbers are a scathing indictment of how profoundly U.S. and CDC HIV prevention efforts have failed," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which calls itself "the nation's largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care."

Weinstein called on the United States to put up $200 million for the testing of 10 million people over the next three years. According to the report, 53 percent of new HIV infections occur in homosexual or bisexual men. But a new Balck AIDS Institute report (www.blackaidsinstitute.com) says the Black Americans have been slight when it comes to HIV/AIDS funding.

African Americans account for 45 percent or 25,000 new cases annually, meaning they are seven times more likely to contract HIV than Whites.

Written by BET-Staff

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