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Estimate of H.I.V. rate likely to rise

The United States government’s estimate of the number of Americans who become infected with the AIDs virus each year is likely to rise as much as 50 percent, according to patient advocates. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that new technologies and statistical analyses show that 50,000 to 60,000 people were infected with the virus in 2005, said Walt Senterfitt, an epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a former adviser for the centers. The agency has used an estimate of about 40,000 new HIV infections each year for the past decade.
The higher estimate is a result of a new method testing blood samples that can identify those who were infected within the previous five months. This enables epidemiologists to estimate how many new infections are appearing nationwide each month or year.
The newest estimate is based on data from 19 states and large cities that have been
Researchers are still uncertain whether the American H.I.V. epidemic is growing or is simply larger than anyone thought – it will take at least two more years to spot a trend and find the answer.
According to the Washington Post: “There is evidence, however, that at least some of the higher number may reflect an uptick in infections in recent years. Information from 33 states with the most precise form of reporting showed a 13 percent increase in HIV infections in homosexual men from 2001 to 2005.?
This newest estimate comes after world health officials last month decreased their estimate of the number of people infected with H.I.V. by about 16 percent, from 39.5 million to 33.2 million. The Washington Post said the “drastically reduced? estimate was a result of crude methods of counting being replaced by better ones.
Jennifer Ruth, a spokeswoman for the centers, said the data on H.I.V. infections was undergoing a review process for publication in a medical journal. Until that process is complete, the estimate of annual infections will remain unchanged, she said.
Patient advocates have been aiming for new figure since 2005, believing that it shows the need for stronger H.I.V. prevention measures, according to David Munar, the vice chairman of the National Association of People with AIDS, based in Silver Spring, Md.

The New York Times:

Washington Post: