New data presented last week by the Delaware Division of Public Health shows that 43% of all HIV infections in the state are caused by intravenous drug use, a figure significantly higher than the 25% national average, The [Wilmington, Del.] News Journal reports. The data also showed that African-Americans account for 66% of Delaware's HIV/AIDS cases, considerably higher than the 49% national average.
Delaware currently ranks fifth in the nation for HIV prevalence, with 25 cases per 100,000 people. A total of 789 new HIV infections were reported in the state from July 10, 2001, to December 31, 2002. Officials say that because data on new HIV infections have been collected in the state only for the past 18 months, it is too early to report any infection trends, but they worry that HIV prevalence rates among African-Americans and injection-drug users will continue to remain disproportionately high for the foreseeable future. Gay men continue to account for a significant proportion of HIV/AIDS cases in the state, but that percentage has been steadily dropping throughout the 20-year history of the epidemic.