The number of people living with HIV or AIDS in Iowa continues to climb. Holly Hanson is with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s HIV/AIDS Program. “Diagnoses have really remained steady over the last several years. We get about 100 to 120 new (HIV or AIDs) cases every year and we’re on target to do that again for 2009,” Hanson said.
An estimated 1,667 people are currently living with HIV or AIDS in the state. In just over half of the cases, the transmission of the virus was caused by men having sex with other men. Around 18% of the cases involved heterosexual contact and 10% involved people who shared needles during intravenous drug use. A disproportionate number of Hispanics living in Iowa are testing positive.
Hispanics make up nearly 4% of the state’s overall population, but account for almost 9% of the HIV cases. Hanson say blacks, meanwhile, make up only 2% of the population but account for nearly 20% of the HIV and AIDS cases in Iowa. One reason for the continued rise in persons with HIV or AIDS is improved medication, allowing people to live longer lives.
Hanson says programs to help those individuals are not being funded enough to keep up with the demand. She manages a program which provides medication to low-income people living with HIV who have no other way to pay for the needed drugs. “We have run into a problem there with not enough funding,” Hanson said. Consequently, the program is closed to new enrollees. There is a waiting list of 25 people who are hoping to be added to the program. Today is recognized as World AIDS Day.
See the department’s report on AIDS here.