HIV cases continue to decline in Wisconsin according to latest health report

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 10:39 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - Over the past 10 years, the number and rate of new HIV diagnoses in Wisconsin have declined according to the latest surveillance report for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex, or through sharing needles.

Wisconsin has a relatively low diagnosis rate compared to neighboring states.

The latest report states young men and people of color were disproportionately affected by HIV. Male-male sexual contact was the most commonly reported risk factor for HIV exposure.

Since 1979, 10,674 Wisconsin residents were diagnosed with HIV. HIV diagnoses rose rapidly during the 1980s, peaking during 1990 at 587 new diagnoses, and then declining steeply until the early 2000s. From 2011–2020, the number of diagnoses ranged from a low of 208 in 2020 to a high of 256 in 2017, with an average of 228 new HIV diagnoses per year.

During 2011–2020, 218 babies were born to women living with HIV in Wisconsin. Of those infants, 98%, or 213, were HIV negative. Three are living with HIV and two had an unresolved diagnostic status at of the publishing of the report.

The majority of new HIV diagnoses were identified in Milwaukee, Dane, and Brown counties. Marathon, Portage, Adams, Price and Oneida each had one new case. Wood and Lincoln had two new cases, and Langlade, Vilas, Taylor and Clark all had none.

At the end of 2020, 6,926 people living with HIV resided in Wisconsin.

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