CHICAGO--The drop in AIDS mortality in 1997 in New York City, one of the epicenters of the epidemic in the United States, more than matched the overall US decline in deaths due to AIDS recorded in the first half of last year (48% vs 44%).
Dr. Kevin DeCock of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Mary Ann Chiasson, of the New York City Department of Health, reported the figures at a press conference at the Fifth Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. "We cant say that the end of the epidemic is in sight, but it certainly is the beginning of a new era," Dr. DeCock said. "The challenge now is to improve prevention efforts."
The CDC statistics show 12,040 US AIDS deaths in the first half of 1997, compared with 21,460 in the first half of 1996. In New York City, the data have been calculated for the entire year of 1997, and show that the benefit cuts across all groups, with women and African-Americans showing substantial decreases.
Dr. Chiasson reported that about 2,600 people in New York City died of AIDS in 1997, compared with about 5,000 in 1996. The rate of decline was 50% for men and 46% for women.