A record number of Iowans were diagnosed with HIV last year, according to a new report from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). (link to full report included)
The agency’s Nicole Kolm-Valdivia credits increased testing, rather than a rise in the transmission rate. “Although it can be alarming to see more diagnoses, we generally are seeing it as a sign some of our outreach and media efforts are working, because it could mean that people have improved access to health care,” Kolm-Valdivia said.
In 2016, 136 Iowans were diagnosed with HIV. That represents roughly a 10-percent increase over the previous year. “We had 123 people diagnosed with HIV in 2015,” Kolm-Valdivia said. “In 2014, we actually had a significant drop with under 100 people diagnosed that year.”
The report shows 32 people living with HIV in Clinton County at the end of 2016.
Iowans who are living with HIV today are having better health outcomes compared to many years ago, according to Kolm-Valdivia. Hiv is treated more like a chronic disease now, rather than an infectious disease,” Kolm-Valdivia said. “We see when people are diagnosed early and they adhere to their medical care and medications…it’s treated like a chronic disease, kind of like diabetes. So, the health outcomes of people with HIV – when they adhere to their medications – are quite similar to those who do not have HIV.” The IDPH estimates there are currently around 400 Iowans who don’t know they are HIV positive.
Link: full report