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AIDS cases up in Los Angeles County, but down in Illinois

AIDS cases up in Los Angeles County, but down in Illinois

The number of newly reported AIDS cases in Los Angeles County increased in 2002 for the first time in more than a decade with the rise occurring entirely among men, The [Los Angeles] Daily News reports. A total of 1,562 new AIDS cases were reported in 2002, up 0.5% from 2001 levels. The number of new cases among women declined about 6%; the increase was attributed to new cases among men, which rose 1.6% over 2001's level. The majority of new AIDS cases were among white and Asian-Pacific Islander males. "I think this is a wake-up call in a sense that we have a lot of indications there is an increase in high-risk sexual behavior," county public health director Jonathan Fielding told the paper. "Although this increase is small, it may well signal an end to the yearly decline in new AIDS cases we have been seeing since 1992." More than 19,000 people in Los Angeles County have AIDS, while another 25,000 to 35,000 are HIV-positive, according to health officials. The number of Illinois AIDS cases reported in 2003 was the lowest since 1998, the state Department of Public Health announced Tuesday. But at least part of the decline is due to the state's aggressive effort in 2002 to report a backlog of Chicago AIDS cases, said the department. Illinois reported 1,301 AIDS cases in 2003, a 42% decline from 2,241 AIDS cases reported for 2002 and the lowest figure since 1,224 AIDS cases were reported in 1998. Nearly 80% of the cases in 2003 were males; blacks made up about half the total, while whites accounted for 36%. About 90% of the state's 2003 AIDS cases were reported in Chicago. "The fact that we have a decline is great, but one year is certainly not a trend," said Tom Hughes, deputy director of health protection for state health department. "We don't want to be complacent," he said. Health officials also noted that the state still records between 1,600 and 2,000 new HIV infections each year, which was not mentioned in the AIDS report.

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