St Paul, MN (KROC AM News) - The Minnesota Health Department says there wasn’t much of a change in the number of new HIV cases in the state last year - but there were significant increases in certain population groups.

The 2015 number of confirmed cases was 294, twelve fewer than the year before - and more than a third were in one age group. The department’s annual report shows the number of cases in the 20 - 29 year old category increased by 24 percent, rising from 87 in 2014 to 108 last year.

The report shows the new cases were concentrated in the Twin Cities and higher rates occurred among communities of color and men who have sex with men. It also shows nearly 60 percent of the new cases involved people of color.  

“ We are seeing higher HIV infection rates in communities with limited access to HIV testing and prevention programs due to longstanding social, medical or income disadvantages,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “We can reduce these rates by improving access to services through expanded partnerships for HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care within these communities.”

Other findings:

  • The number of cases among injection drug users (IDUs) increased by 86 percent, with 26 new cases in 2015 compared to 14 cases in 2014. IDU cases occurred more often with white non-Hispanic males, those between the ages of 20 and 39, Twin Cities metropolitan residents and men who have sex with men.
  • 58 percent of newly reported HIV cases were people of color. Among females, more than half of all new cases were African-born. Among males, more than one-fourth of all new cases were African-American, Non-Hispanic men.
  • Male to Male sex remains the leading risk factor for HIV
  • More than half of newly reported cases were among communities of color
  • More than half among black African-born women
  • More than one-fourth among African-American men
  • Cases of injection drug users increased by 86%
  • Cases among 20-29 year olds increased by 24%

The department says 11,000 cases have been reported since the epidemic began in the state in 1982. An estimated 8,215 people in Minnesota are living with HIV/AIDS.  

Health officials noted that HIV infection remains highly preventable.

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