The PA Department of Health is reporting an increase in HIV and gonorrhea diagnoses in Beaver County.
However, a lack of willingness to test — combined with the potential spread of the diseases through illegal drug use — raises more questions than answers.
From 2017 through this year so far, the number of new HIV cases has increased “nearly threefold” in county residents compared to the average number of new diagnoses in previous years, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Health advisory issued earlier this month to local medical offices. The increases in HIV infection were predominantly identified in males with the risk factor of men who have sex with men. According to the state health department, four cases of HIV diagnoses were made in 2013, five in 2014 and three in 2015. Zero cases were reported in 2016, but the count may be incomplete because of reporting delays. The state has not yet shared the exact number of new diagnoses for 2017.
Individuals identified with new HIV infections also had a high rate of co-infection with other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as syphilis and gonorrhea.
In nearby Allegheny County, 119 new HIV diagnoses were made in 2013, followed by 128 in 2014, 142 in 2015 and 127 in 2016. In Lawrence County, there were three new cases in 2013, five in 2014, five in 2015 and zero in 2016. The latter also may be incomplete because of reporting delays.
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From Poz Magazine…
Using routine genetic analyses of viral strains seen among those newly diagnosed with HIV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified scores of rapidly expanding transmission clusters nationwide. These clusters, in which HIV is apparently spreading quickly among sexual networks, disproportionately affect young men who have sex with men (MSM), in particular Latinos.
According to a CDC analysis released in 2017, the HIV infection rate among Latino MSM has increased in recent years while it has decreased among Black and white MSM.
CDC researcher Anne Marie France, PhD, presented findings from the new study on transmission clusters at the 2018 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
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An honest and informative video from The Gay Guyde on YouTube…