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AIDS Mortality Shows Dramatic Fall in California

AIDS Mortality Shows Dramatic Fall in California

SAN FRANCISCO—AIDS mortality fell by 60% in California in the first 6 months of 1997, a much larger drop than the 26% decline seen nationally from 1995 to 1996, the last period for which national figures are available.

The number of AIDS deaths in California fell from 2,788 in the 6-month period from January to June 1996, to 1,112 in the same time period in 1996.

More State Funds

In other news, California Governor Pete Wilson announced the addition of approximately $36 million in state funds to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which helps provide anti-HIV medications to low-income or uninsured patients. The additional funding raises the total state funding for the program to $130 million annually.

The recently released mortality figures point to a vital need for the drug program among minorities. For blacks with HIV disease in California, the decrease in AIDS mortality was 35%, about 40% less than the overall decline.

Increase in Older People

In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nationwide the incidence of AIDS among people age 50 and up increased by 22% in a 5-year period—from 5,260 new

cases in 1991 to 6,400 in 1996. This compares with a 9% increase during the same time period for people age 13 to 49 years.

The CDC noted that the major cause of HIV infection in older people has shifted from infected blood transfusions in the early years of the epidemic to unprotected sex and IV drug abuse today.

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