Stateside
4:15 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

HIV cases in Washtenaw County hit a 15 year high

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human H9 T cell, colorized in blue, turquoise, and yellow.
Credit NIAID / Flickr

A total of 33 new HIV cases were reported in Washtenaw County in 2013. That's 37% more than the cases reported in 2012. This is the highest number of cases in the County since 1999. This also reflects a trend happening in Southeast Michigan.

Cathy Wilczynski is a nurse practitioner and program supervisor at Washtenaw County Public Health. She said most of the newly infected are younger.  

“We have ten new cases between the ages of 15 and 24. That is unheard of,” Wilcynski said.

The cases are clustered in the African-American and gay communities. Nearly 80% of the cases in the region involved men who identified themselves as men who have sex with men.

Wilcynzski said one of the reasons for the increase could be that the message that HIV exists is not real to those under 30.

“We need to come up with a new message. We need to figure out what message is going to work,” she said. “I had someone tell me the other day that there is no ownership to that message anymore.”

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