New AIDS cases reported in Nebraska dropped from 71 in 2002 to 60 last year, while new HIV infections remained level, with 47 cases reported for both years, according to the state Health and Human Services' HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. Steve Jackson, HIV counselor and testing coordinator for HHS, said the decline in AIDS cases could be the result of better testing and heightened awareness about the disease.
The report found that the Latino population posted the biggest increase in new AIDS cases last year, with 15 cases reported--more than double the seven cases recorded for 2002. Twenty-eight new AIDS cases were reported among whites for 2003, a drop from 34 cases in 2002. New cases among African-Americans also declined from 28 in 2002 to 13 last year. For Native Americans new AIDS cases remained the same, with two cases reported each year. Two new AIDS cases were reported among Asians last year; in previous years no cases were recorded. More Nebraskans are getting tested for HIV, which could explain the reduction in AIDS figures, said Charles Houseman, public education coordinator at HHS. Last year HHS reported that 7,300 residents were tested, up from 6,231 in 2002. (AP)