New AIDS cases in Florida increased for the first time in more than a decade in 2003, rising 24% over 2002 levels, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. State health officials are unsure whether the increase was due to more people taking HIV antibody tests through testing campaigns throughout the state or a resurgence of the disease.
"We are seeing some patterns we don't like," Thomas Liberti, AIDS director for the state health department told the Sun-Sentinel. "I would not feel so secure if we saw a big jump in HIV too, but we didn't. I'm encouraged by that." New HIV cases dropped 3% in the state last year, Liberti says. Broward County had the largest increase in new AIDS cases, up 49% over 2003 levels. Miami-Dade County saw a 33% increase in new AIDS cases. Palm Beach County posted no increase in new AIDS cases and a 17% drop in new HIV diagnoses, health officials say.