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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 16:06 GMT
HIV rate jumps among US gays
Gay men at Mardi Gras
The report suggested that "prevention fatigue" was partly to blame for the rise
There has been a big rise in the number of new HIV cases among gay men in the United States, a report says.

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed a 17% increase in new HIV cases among gay men between 1999 and 2002.

The figures cover 29 US states - not including New York, California and Washington DC.

"The fight is as urgent as it was 20 years ago," CDC director of HIV/Aids prevention Robert Janssen said.

'Treatable disease'

CDC officials say the report shows there is a need for new prevention strategies.

Earlier this year, the centre launched a campaign urging safe sex and discouraging needle-sharing, but Mr Janssen said that "prevention fatigue" had probably set in as many now regard HIV/AIDS as a "treatable disease".

The report, released ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December showed that overall, the number of men diagnosed with HIV between 1999 and 2002 had risen from 17,556 in 1999 to 18,843.

HIV IN THE US, 1999-2002
Up to 950,000 infected
40,000 people infected yearly
Black people account for 55% of infected
Men infected rose from 17,556 to 18,843
Gay men infected rose from 9,988 to 11,686
In the same period, the number of homosexual men diagnosed rose from 9,988 to 11,686.

The Hispanic community showed the largest increase in HIV cases, at 26%, while HIV among whites increased by 8%.

The report showed there was no considerable increase in infection rates among African and Asian Americans, but black people account for 55% of all new HIV cases.

Mr Janssen noted that while HIV largely remains a black and Latino infection in the United States, the report indicates that lifestyle is more of an issue than ethnicity.

The report also found that although the number of Aids cases had been on the decline, between 1999-2002, the number of cases increased by 5.1%.

It is estimated that there are between 850,000 and 950,000 HIV-positive people in the United States.

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