March 28, 1994

The Expanding Regional Diversity of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Epidemic in the United States

Author Affiliations

From the Division of HIV/AIDS, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(6):654-659. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420060084009

Background:  The geographic spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic reflects multiple subepidemics in different regions and population groups.

Methods:  To describe regional trends in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the United States, we analyzed national surveillance data for persons with AIDS diagnosed from 1988 through 1991.

Results:  Highest annual AIDS incidence rates were in the US territories (52.7 per 100000) and the Northeast (27.7 per 100 000). The greatest percentage increases were in the US territories (68.8%), the South (60.1%), and the Midwest (52.4%). Men who have sex with men constituted the majority of AIDS cases nationally (54.6%), as well as in the Midwest (67.8%), the South (57.4%), and the West (75.3%). Among injecting drug users, the greatest rates of increase in AIDS cases were observed among blacks in the South. Although large increases in the number of persons with HIV transmitted through heterosexual contact were reported from almost all regions, the largest increase was in the South.

Conclusion:  High rates of increase in AIDS cases from the Midwest, South, and US territories probably reflect later entry of HIV into these regions compared with the earlier HIV epidemics in large metropolitan areas of the Northeast and West. In particular, because the South has the largest population of the regions, and sexually transmitted disease surveillance data suggest that substantial populations in the South are at risk, the marked increase in AIDS incidence in this region suggests that the major impact of the epidemic may yet be seen. The continuing spread of HIV and AIDS in different communities and regions demonstrates the need to expand preventive and therapeutic services.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:654-659)