While the rate of HIV has leveled off in Minnesota, on the 25th annual observance of World AIDS Day, WCCO Radio reported that leaders who are working to prevent the continued spread of the disease see signs of trouble ahead.
David Kurtzon, program manager at Teen Wise Minnesota, said that even thought nearly 3,500 people have died from HIV or AIDS in Minnesota, safe sex efforts are often ignored.
“We have noted in the most recent survey, we have found a declining use of condoms, and that could lead to an uptick,” Kurtzon said.
In a proclamation marking this year’s observance, Gov. Mark Dayton called for all Minnesotans to educate themselves about the risks and testing opportunities for HIV and demonstrate compassion for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
World AIDS Day is an annual effort to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate solidarity in the face of the pandemic. A Minnesota Health Department press release estimated 7,516 people are reported to be living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, and an average of 300 new infections are diagnosed each year, highlighting the fact that HIV/AIDS remains a major public health issue.
The Hutchinson Leader noted that the World Health Organization estimated that 35.3 million people are living with HIV worldwide with about 2.3 million became infected last year. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 50,000 people become newly infected with HIV each year and 1.1 million are living with HIV.