H.I.V. cases spike amongst gay men

The level of new H.I.V. infections statewide remained almost level last year, according to statistics released by the Minnesota Department of Health today. There were 304 cases of H.I.V. reported in Minnesota last year, compared to 307 in 2004.

But there was a serious jump in reported cases involving men who have sex with men. New H.I.V infections in gay men jumped by 21.5 percent, accounting for roughly 60 percent of all new cases.

The spike is not surprising given the increases in syphilis infections among gay men in recent years. Such cases nearly tripled last year, from 34 to 99.

In announcing the results, the Minnesota Department of Health indicated a number of factors leading to the increase. "This increase, in combination with a four-year increase in new HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men, a tripling of syphilis cases in 2005 and a nationwide methamphetamine epidemic in which users more frequently engage in riskier sexual behavior, is a recipe for disaster in this community," noted Kip Beardsley, director of the STD and HIV section at the agency.

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