Today is World AIDS Day.
My experience with HIV and AIDS is mostly through TV. Watching The Real World: San Francisco, and seeing Pedro’s life made a big difference in my understanding of the disease. So did Philadelphia.
More recently I picked up the graphic novel Pedro & Me – Judd Winick up and wes reminded of how powerful watching Pedro’s life on MTV was in my High School days.
But I was an adult, well out of college before I personally knew someone who was open about their HIV infection. I had picked a friend up from his house, he was sitting in the front seat of my car, we were heading to church, when he told me. I think that I was cool when I heard it, but when I got home that night I sent multiple text messages to my best friend to help me process the fact that I now had a personal connection to the HIV virus. This wasn’t a disease that was limited to the East and West Coast of the United States, or characters on TV shows, or desperately poor people in Africa, this was a disease that was impacting my life, he was my friend and he was sitting in my car.
HIV is still a problem in Minnesota
The following are some key statistics and talking points on HIV in Minnesota.
- In 2010, 331 new cases of HIV were reported in Minnesota.
- The Minnesota AIDS Project, the leading source for HIV information and services in Minnesota, believes that these data underscore its view that HIV prevention and education is at a critical point if we are to stop the increase in new cases.
- A new case of HIV disease is reported in Minnesota nearly every day.
- To date, 9,493 cases of HIV disease have been reported in Minnesota since 1982.
- As of December 31, 2010, 6,814 people are known to be living with the HIV virus in Minnesota.
- In the past year, 86% of new HIV cases were reported in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
- 22% of new HIV cases of adult and adolescent in Minnesota are among African Americans, who represent just over three percent of the state’s population.
- Since 2001, there has been a steady increase in new cases occurring within the population of young gay and bisexual men (under the age of 24). In 2010, they represented 20% of newly reported cases.