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Tue, Jan. 21

Guest column: 18,190 people living with HIV in Arizona

Every five years, the HIV Surveillance Program at ADHS produces an integrated epidemiologic profile that describes the characteristics of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) in Arizona. The 2013-2017 Integrated Epidemiologic Profile provides a five-year snapshot of the sociodemographic, geographic, and behavioral factors associated with HIV/AIDS, along with health outcomes among PLWH. This report is a valuable tool used by ADHS, local health departments, and community stakeholders to inform HIV prevention strategies, distribute resources for HIV care and services, and much more.

At the end of 2017, 18,190 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Arizona, an increase from 15,798 in 2013. Despite this increase, the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Arizona remained relatively stable over the five-year period, from 700 in 2013 to 737 in 2017. Other highlights from the report include:

Deaths related to HIV/AIDS over the five-year period were lowest in 2017 (181 deaths)

Eighty-one percent of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2017 were linked to HIV care within 12 months of their initial diagnosis, a slight improvement from 79 percent in 2013

Seventy-one percent of new diagnoses from 2013-2017 resided in Maricopa County, which CDC recently identified as a priority county as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic plan

Scientific advancements have been made in both the prevention and treatment of HIV, notably the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and increased use of antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, certain populations are still at an increased risk for HIV/AIDS. Men, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM), adults ages 20-39, and black/African American individuals are at higher risk for HIV/AIDS than other sociodemographic groups. These special populations were also highlighted in the report findings:

Eighty-six percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses from 2013-2017 were male

Ages 25-29 had the highest HIV/AIDS incidence rate (31 per 100,000), followed by ages 20-24 (22.9 per 100,000)

Black/African American individuals had an HIV/AIDS incidence rate of 34 per 100,000, more than two times higher than the next closest racial/ethnic group

Sixty-one percent of new diagnoses from 2013-2017 reported MSM as their risk behavior

More information is available about the current HIV/AIDS trends in Arizona at the HIV Epidemiology Program webpage.

Information provided by Arizona Department of Health

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