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HIV infections climb for third year in North Carolina

HIV infections climb for third year in North Carolina

Data on HIV infections in North Carolina show that 2003 marked the third year in a row that new HIV infections reported in the state climbed, with 71% of the state's HIV cases now among African-Americans, the Raleigh News and Observer reports. A total of 2,100 new HIV infections were reported in the state last year. Thirty-two percent of the state's total 25,000 HIV cases were among women, according to state health officials. Heterosexual sex accounted for 83% of the new HIV infections among women reported in 2003, with drug use accounting for 11%. Gay and bisexual men remained most at risk for HIV infection in 2003, say state officials. The three-year spike in HIV infections represents a failure of public policy, said Evelyn Foust, head of the state health department's HIV/STD prevention and care branch. She said little money is available for HIV education and prevention efforts, but she warns that a failure to spend money now on HIV prevention will result in larger expenditures later as more people become infected and need expensive antiretroviral treatment through public health programs.

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