Officials able to create a more complete picture of HIV epidemic
Now that all 50 states are reporting both HIV infections and AIDS cases, federal health officials say they will be able to create a "clearer and more accurate" view of the U.S. HIV epidemic, including identifying trends in new infections, The New York Times reports. Previously, states were required to report only AIDS cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but new CDC regulations tie HIV funding to trends in HIV infections, which requires states to report and track all HIV cases that have not progressed to AIDS. Health officials say that by relying on only AIDS data, studies of the U.S. epidemic were severely out of date, since untreated HIV infection can take 10 years or longer to progress to AIDS. Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin became the first states to begin reporting HIV cases in 1986; by 1995, 30 states were collecting data on both HIV and AIDS cases. Georgia, on January 1, became the last state to begin tracking new HIV cases. Most states report HIV cases to the CDC using patient names, but a handful use a system of codes to better protect the privacy of those who test positive for HIV infection.