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AIDS: Chicago HIV/AIDS cases pass 36,000
Click photospread for detailed charts
by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times

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As of March 2011, 36,802 people had been reported to the Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ) with a diagnosis of HIV infection—this includes both AIDS and HIV ( not AIDS ) —since reporting began in the early 1980s for AIDS and 1999 for HIV ( not AIDS ) . Of these, 14,507 ( 39 percent ) have died and 22,295 are living with HIV infection.

Accompanying this article are several graphs and tables showing breakdowns of AIDS and HIV Infection Diagnoses by year and selected demographic and risk characteristics in Chicago. Because reporting of HIV ( not AIDS ) and AIDS began at different times, the graphs and tables are presented for both AIDS and HIV infection.

First, looking at the gender breakdown of AIDS, of the 25,269 cases reported to CDPH through 2009, 20,813 ( 82 percent ) were in men, and 4,456 ( 18 percent ) involved women. [ Numbers for the transgender population began to be collected in 2010 and are not yet complete. ] The number of HIV infection diagnoses reflects a similar pattern with a slightly higher percentage among women: out of 16,879 HIV-related cases, 13,035 ( 77 percent ) were men and 3,854 ( 23 percent ) were women.

The table on race and ethnicity is also interesting. While the disease in Chicago and other U.S. cities was initially reported in some media as targeting white gay men, reports show its path was not narrow even in the early 1980s.

Of the 25,269 reported AIDS cases through 2009, the largest affected racial demographic is, by far, Blacks. In the "Non-Hispanic, Black" category, CDPH shows 14,052; "Non-Hispanic White" 6,963; "Hispanic" 3,784; and "Other" 467. The breakdown is similar in reported HIV infection cases, with 9,705 of the 16,879 total in Blacks, 3,920 in whites, 2,761 in Hispanics and 475 in "Other."

In the Mode of Transmission table of reported AIDS cases, "Men who have Sex with Men" ( MSM ) make up more than 50 percent of the 25,269 total, or 13,237 cases. Intravenous Drug Users ( IDU ) account for 27 percent, or 6,856 cases, and heterosexual contact account for 12 percent, 2,979, of total reported AIDS cases. MSM who also are IV drug users are 1,802 of the total. Heterosexual transmission accounts for 2,979 cases, with 396 listed as "other."

The Chicago Department of Public Health began tracking what would later become known as AIDS in 1980. The statistics for those early years show fewer than five cases in 1980 and 1981 ( low numbers are suppressed in the tables because of privacy concerns ) , but a jump to 16 in 1982 and 42 in 1983. These were cases reported to CDPH, and likely did not represent the full impact of the epidemic, especially prior to HIV testing. Of the 16,879 HIV cases, 9,134 are in MSM, 3,366 in IDU, 858 in MSM/IDU, 3,386 are listed as heterosexually transmitted and 112 as "other."

In the coming weeks, Windy City Times will also analyze data from nationwide AIDS/HIV reporting, and take a closer look at the geographic breakdown in Chicago.


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