US AIDS cases stable at 50,000 per year

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: The number of new AIDS cases in the US remained stable at about 50,000 per year between 2006 and 2009, said authorities.

"More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Thomas Frieden, said in a statement.

"Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing," he said.

In 2006, 48,600 AIDS infections were registered; in 2007, 56,000 cases; in 2008, 47,800; and 48,100 in 2009, according to the CDC.

The data reveal a statistical stabilisation in the number of infections at an average of about 50,000 per year.

"While we`re encouraged that prevention efforts have helped avoid overall increases in HIV infections in the United States, and have significantly reduced new infections from the peak in the mid-1980s, we have plateaued at an unacceptably high level," said Kevin Fenton, director of CDC`s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

"Without intensified HIV prevention efforts," he said, "we are likely to face an era of rising infection rates and higher health care costs for a preventable condition that already affects more than 1 million people in this country."

Homosexuals continued to be in the forefront of new AIDS cases with about 61 percent, or 29,300 cases.

Within that group, gay males between 13 and 29 accounted for 27 percent, or 12,900 cases, in 2009.

By race, African Americans were the most affected with 44 percent of the cases in that same year, and they had an infection rate almost eight times greater than whites.

IANS