News release: Fewer new HIV/AIDS cases in 2010, but 331 is still above 10-year trend

News Release
April 26, 2011
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Fewer new HIV/AIDS cases in 2010, but 331 is still above 10-year trend

Cases remain elevated among certain groups and geographical areas

A total of 331 new HIV cases were reported in the state in 2010 compared with 370 cases in 2009, representing an 11 percent decline, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). However, health officials cautioned against reading too much into the drop in cases.

"This one year decrease in cases doesn't tell the whole story," said Peter Carr, manager of the STD and HIV Section at MDH. "With HIV reporting, it's more important to look at long term trends rather than just one year."

MDH data show that the state has averaged just over 300 cases per year for nearly a decade. In the last few years around 320 cases have been reported annually with 326 cases in 2008, 325 cases in 2007 and 318 cases in 2006. A total of 9,493 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported since MDH began tracking AIDS in 1982 and HIV in 1985.

"What's also important when we look at this data is to see where the disease is concentrated," said Carr. "It helps us prioritize our efforts and resources."

Key findings related to higher disease rates in the report include:

  • Communities of color experienced the greatest health disparities when looking at infection rates by race and ethnicity: African-born persons had 66 to 93.8 cases per 100,000 persons followed by African-Americans (44.1/100,000), Latinos (21.6/100,000), American Indians (14.8/100,000) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (3.6/100,000). Whites had a rate of 3.8/100,000.
  • Male-to-male sex was the main risk factor for males of all ages with known risk factors, making up 68 percent of cases. Young males 13 to 24 years of age accounted for 26 percent of all new male cases in 2010.
  • Among women (all ages) with known risk factors, heterosexual sex was the leading risk factor, accounting for 92 percent of cases. Women of color accounted for 68 percent of all cases among women.
  • New HIV cases remain concentrated within the Twin Cities metropolitan area (86 percent) with a 16 percent increase reported in Minneapolis in 2010 as compared to 2009, primarily due to an increase seen among women.
  • There are currently an estimated 6,814 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota.

To help curb the epidemic in Minnesota, the STD and HIV Section at MDH currently funds 22 programs through 16 agencies aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in adults and young people of all races. The Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) at MDH provides funding for capacity building to eight community-based organizations to help them educate and teach skills that impact individuals, organizations, and communities in the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS.

Although there still is no cure or vaccine, health officials emphasize that HIV infection remains highly preventable. Ways to prevent or reduce the spread of HIV include avoiding or delaying the start of sexual activity, using latex condoms consistently and correctly and avoiding the sharing of needles or equipment to tattoo, body pierce or inject drugs.

Health officials also noted that it is important for people to get tested and know their HIV status. Early identification of HIV infection enables people to start treatment sooner, leading to better outcomes and longer lives and also helps prevent the spread of the virus.

The preliminary HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report – 2010 can be found on the MDH website at

Information about HIV is available from the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) AIDSLine, 612-373-2437 (Twin Cities Metro), 1-800-248-2437 (Statewide), 1-888-820-2437 (Statewide TTY), or by email at: MAP AIDSLine offers statewide information and referral services, including prevention education, HIV risk assessments, HIV testing and referrals to HIV testing sites.


For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications

Peter Carr
STD and HIV Section