HIV infections climbing among gays in Maine
The percentage of new HIV infections in Maine among gay men has nearly doubled since 2002, with gay and bisexual men accounting for 71% of the newly reported HIV cases this year, the Portland Press Herald reports. Gay men accounted for 38% of new HIV infections in 2002. "What we could be seeing is a resurgence of HIV around the corner," said state epidemiologist Mark Griswold. State health experts say that until now Maine had largely been spared the rising HIV infection rates reported among gay communities elsewhere, mostly because of the state's small population. The rising number of HIV infections among men who have sex with men is being mirrored by increases in other sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and syphilis. Gay men account for 44% of the newly reported gonorrhea cases in 2003 and more than 75% of the new syphilis cases in the state. Health officials plan to retool HIV prevention campaigns in the state to better encourage gay men, particularly younger gay men, to practice safer sex and to talk about their sexual histories with sex partners.