HIV/AIDS becomes more manageable to live with

Times Republican
They were the headline-grabbing diseases of several years ago that don’t seem to get talked about much these days.

The diseases, HIV and AIDS, have seemingly been put on the back burner, but cases continue to be added in Iowa.

Statewide there are nearly 200 new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS each year and males account for 84 percent of the new diagnoses, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The total number of Iowans reported to be living with HIV/AIDS was 1,828 as of Dec. 31, 2010.

In Marshall County, there were 26 people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2010, according to a report by the IDPH. That rate equates to 64 per 100,000 people, which is slightly above the state average of 60 per 100,000 people.

Both Tama and Grundy counties have less than four cases. Any number less than that is not revealed to protect the identity of those who have the disease. Hardin County had six reported people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2010.

Randy Mayer, chief of the Bureau of HIV, STD and Hepatitis with the Iowa Department of Public Health, said the disease has become more manageable medically, which has kept it out of the headlines.

“We know a lot more about it and have treatment to manage it,” Mayer said.

The challenge for health leaders are those cases which do not get tested and go unreported. Mayer could not estimate how many people in Iowa have HIV/AIDS and are not reported in the IDPH numbers.

“That’s something that we really can’t measure,” Mayer said. “The estimates nationally are about 21 percent of people who are positive have not been diagnosed.”

As a result of the disease being more manageable, deaths have decreased through the years statewide as five people died as a result of HIV/AIDS in 2010. The peak year for Iowa deaths of the last 12 years was in 2000, when 28 people died from the disease in the state.

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