Minnesota HIV/AIDS rates leap, infection rate highest since 1992


With metro area white males in their teens and 20s leading the way, Minnesota saw a 13 percent increase in its number of reported HIV/AIDS infections in 2009, compared to the year before.

The 368 cases represent the highest number of infections since 1992, according to Minnesota Department of Health's Peter Carr.

MDH says 9,176 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported since the department began tracking AIDS in 1982 and HIV in 1985. The state averaged a little over 300 cases per year for nearly a decade.

From the study:

  • There were 95 HIV cases reported among 15- to 24-year-olds in 2009, compared to 59 cases in the same age group in 2008. Of the 95 cases in 2009, 77 of them, or 81 percent, were males.
  • Among males, male-to-male sex was the main risk factor for 88 percent.
  • Of young male cases, 45 percent were white, 39 percent were African-American, 11 percent were Latino, 3 percent were Asian, 1 percent were African-born, and 1 percent were multiracial.
  • The number of new cases in women dropped to 73. Of those woman, women of color were overrepresented, accounting for 74 percent of new female cases.
  • New HIV cases were concentrated within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Minneapolis experienced a decrease in reported cases. St. Paul, Ramsey, Anoka and Dakota counties all experienced increases.

In releasing the data, the department recognized that decades-old efforts to warn people about HIV/AIDS -- for which, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is no known cure -- are falling short.

"Some may mistakenly feel the threat of dying from HIV/AIDS is over," Carr said.

It's not.