DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health saw more new HIV diagnoses than any year on record in 2016. But health officials say that isn’t necessarily all bad news.
136 Iowans were diagnosed with HIV last year. That is the most since records for testing for the disease began in 1989. Health officials say the spike in diagnoses doesn’t necessarily mean the disease is being spread more. Instead they credit an increase in testing brought on by an increase in those covered by health insurance.
“There are many contributing factors to these increases,” Randy Mayer with the IDPH said in press release Thursday, “However, we see this as a sign that targeted outreach efforts are reaching those at most risk of HIV in Iowa. It’s likely also a sign of improved access to health care.”
The state’s end-of-year HIV surveillance report also shows the disease continues to disproportionately affect the African-American community. 32% of Iowans diagnosed with HIV are African-American. However only 3% of the state’s total population is African-American.
54% of those diagnosed with HIV in 2016 were age 25-44. 58% were men who have sex with men.