Thursday, June 23, 2005

US Navy's HIV Rate Increases Slightly

Unlike the U.S. Army, with apparently declining rates of HIV infections and/or newly identified infections, which may be due to pre-service HIV testing by recruits, the U.S. Navy's most recent HIV stats show a slight increase.

As far as I know, the Navy's surveillance report is the best place to find HIV epidemiology. If I'm wrong about this and you have links to more current stats for the Navy, please share the links with me.

Naval Medical Surveillance Report
Feb./Mar. 2003

[Link to full report.]

HIV Surveillance Among Active Duty Sailors and Marines, 1985-2001
Michael R. MacDonald, BS, William B. Calvert, MS, MPH, MBA
Navy Environmental Health Center, Portsmouth, VA

[Excerpts from the Introduction, Results and Conclusions sections of the report.]

"The Department of the Navy began testing all active duty military personnel for HIV in 1985. Since then, there have been 4,786 documented cases of HIV infection among U.S. Navy and Marine Corps active duty personnel. The total force screening program goal was to test all active duty members at least once within the first 2 years, and again during the next 2 years."

"During calendar year 2001, 357,470 active duty Sailors, and 142957 active duty Marines were tested for HIV antibodies. Of these, 101 active duty Sailors and Marines tested positive for HIV (Table 1)."

"Note that Figure 1 plots newly identified infections, not necessarily newly acquired infections. The distinction is important, particularly prior to 1990, where the number of positive members is more an indication of prevalence. Predictably, the first few years of testing identified higher numbers of HIV positive members."

"The numbers and rates of new HIV seroconverters have significantly declined since 1990, but there appears to be a slight increase in both cases and rates since 1999. Like HIV incidence in the U.S. general population, in 2001 black men (Sailors and Marines) were disproportionately affected."

"The majority of new seroconverters are younger than 30 years old, though age adjusted rates indicate a higher infection rate among military personnel 30 and older. Condom use by unmarried Sailors and Marines remains below the national goal of 50%."

Table 1.
Newly Identified HIV Positive Cases, 1990-2001


Navy 249
Marines 49

Navy 186
Marines 37

Navy 183
Marines 29

Navy 161
Marines 41

Navy 118
Marines 28

Navy 87
Marines 18

Navy 94
Marines 22

Navy 61
Marines 22

Navy 58
Marines 13

Navy 57
Marines 14

Navy 77
Marines 23

Navy 85
Marines 16

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