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HIV and AIDS cases up in Maine

HIV and AIDS cases up in Maine

Health officials in Maine announced that HIV infections in the state are up so far in 2003, with 33 new cases reported between January 1 and July 24 compared with 19 new cases during the same period in 2002, the Bangor Daily News reports. AIDS diagnoses also are up in the state, with 28 new diagnoses reported this year compared with 21 during the same period last year. Many of the new infections are among men who have sex with men, health officials say, leading them to worry about "prevention fatigue" among gay and bisexual men. "People get tired of hearing 'safe sex' all the time," Drew Thomits, educational programs supervisor for the Eastern Maine AIDS Network, told the News. He also said there's a lack of awareness about the seriousness of AIDS among young gay men. "When we didn't have effective testing and treatments, people saw wasting and death and all the horrible things that happen with this disease," he said. "Now if they know someone [living with HIV/AIDS], they may see them healthy, out working--they don't see how hard it is to live with AIDS." Charles Dwyer, manager of Maine's HIV program, said that the state will launch an awareness campaign in the next few weeks, which will include posters placed in gay bars and nightclubs, doctor's offices, and other locations in communities with large populations at high risk for HIV infection.

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