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The Big Answer


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AIDS

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CDC estimates that in 2010 there were 1,148,200 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection, including 207,600 (18.1%) who are unaware of their infection. (CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 U.S. dependent areas—2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012;17--No. 3, part A.) Over the past decade, the number of people living with HIV has increased, while the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. Still, the pace of new infections continues at far too high a level—particularly among certain groups.

HIV Incidence (new infections): The estimated incidence of HIV has remained stable overall in recent years, at about 50,000 new HIV infections per year.

HIV and AIDS incidence in 2010
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

HIV and AIDS incidence from 1980 to 2010
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

According to the General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago in 1988 and 1989, nearly 17 million Americans are currently at risk of contracting AIDS. (In 2013, we no longer look at such numbers since we are ALL at risk. What if a wacko stabs you with a dirty needle in a parking lot?) Those who have multiple partners, casual partners, or male homosexual partners are at the highest risk, however—especially if they have unprotected sex. In the survey one percent of men said they were either bisexual or homosexual; and three percent of men and women reported having sexual relations in the prior year with people they didn't know well. Two percent of Americans had five or more partners the previous year. Young men who have never married reported the most risky sexual behavior. Condom use is up, however, with 42 percent of women using a condom during their first premarital intercourse between 1983 and 1988 versus 22 percent using one between 1975 and 1979.

contraception at first sex
(Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, 2006–2010, National Survey of Family Growth Data From the National Survey of Family Growth, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics)

Nearly 31 percent of adults reported at least one high-risk episode, and 31 percent have had five or more partners during their adult life. Five percent have had male homosexual relations. But it's difficult to determine what portion of this risky behavior occurred before AIDS became a threat in the late 70s. (Arthur, Caroline, "Seventeen Million Americans Risk AIDS," American Demographics, September 1991, p. 12)

In 1990 in New York City, one of every 12 hospital beds had an AIDS patient. AIDS in New York City had a total cost of one million dollars per day. Costs for AIDS patients in 1990 were estimated at four billion dollars, with projected increases to six billion dollars in 1993 (out of a total health-care tab of $600 billion in 1993 that rose to $916 billion in 2013). The escalation of AIDS/HIV budgets for the U.S. to $21.5 billion in 2012 is because of increased spending on mandatory domestic care and treatment programs wherein new medical treatments will keep patients alive longer. (U.S. Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS: The President’s FY 2012 Budget Request) The costs crunch is especially heavy because the disease hits mostly poor and disenfranchised people. One fourth of all cases are drug abusers who have shared needles. Medicaid has paid 40 percent of the expenses (where it usually pays about 9 percent of medical costs, and 40 percent of nursing home costs). (Findlay, Steven, and Joanne Silberner, "The Worsening Spread of the AIDS Crisis," U.S. News & World Report, January 29, 1990, p. 28) Other reported AIDS cost estimates sometimes appear lower because they do not include counseling, unapproved and other services not covered by insurance or Medicaid.

On January 8, 1992, CNN reported the results of a shocking study on AIDS sufferers: 93 percent of people with the disease don't tell the people they have sex with about their condition.

Each year, approximately 16-22 million persons in the United States are tested for HIV. By 2002, an estimated 38%-44% of all adults had been tested for HIV (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/testing/index.htm). However, at the end 2006, approximately 1 in 5 (21%, or 232,700 persons) did not know they were infected.

An estimated 17,774 people with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2009, and nearly 619,400 people in the United States with an AIDS diagnosis have died since the epidemic began. (CDC. HIV Surveillance Report, 2010; vol. 22) The deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis can be due to any cause—that is, the death may or may not be related to AIDS. Since the epidemic began, almost 300,000 MSM with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 6,863 in 2009. (CDC. HIV Surveillance Report, 2010; vol. 22)

It isn't rocket science just because it's shaped like a rocket!
It isn't rocket science just because it's shaped like a rocket!