Thursday, July 31, 2003


I simply adore being the bearer of good news.

This week, amid the clamor of alarm and fear emanating from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's biennial HIV prevention conference, the San Francisco Department of Public Health quietly released its June monthly sexually transmitted disease report and the good news in it has been completely ignored by the media and AIDS groups. [1]

The best development in the report is the low, stable rate for overall HIV infections, especially for recent/new infections.

53 positive test results were reported at the midyear point in 2002, and 55 HIV positive results were recorded during the first six months of 2003. Sure, that's a slight increase, but, essentially this category is stable

For recent positives, using the STARHS, Serologic Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversions, method, 21 results were documented for the first six months of 2002, and 21 results were reported for the first half of this year. Same number for the first six months, two years in row, is a level rate.

Number of HIV tests performed through the end of June 2002 was 1223, while there were 1273 tests through the end of June 2003.

The number of total gonorrhea diagnoses fell from 1127 cases in the first half of last year, while at the midyear point of 2003, the number was 835.

A key indicator of safe sex behavior among gay men, rectal gonorrhea cases, also declined. Total number through the end of June 2002: 161. For the first half of 2003, the number was 153 cases.

Both male oral gonorrhea and proctitis also dropped so far this year, compared to numbers from 2002, as did adult male shigellosis cases.

Syphilis cases rose from 291 during the first half of 2002, while so far for this year the number is 365.

So the number of new HIV infections in San Francisco is as flat as the state of Kansas and male gonorrhea continues to decline, particularly the male rectal rate, but these developments are not newsworthy and all HIV prevention groups remain silent about the drops.

And I have to wonder if the head of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Dr. Mitch Katz, reads his own department's STD reports.

In the July 29 San Francisco Chronicle story about CDC claims of increasing HIV infections among gay men in 24 states, Katz stated: "We don't think new (HIV) infections are low, however. That's due to many things, including the increasing use of methamphetamines, Viagra and people recognizing that AIDS is no longer a death sentence." [2]

How Katz can say he doesn't believe new HIV infections are low, when the health department he runs reports flat new HIV infections, is beyond my comprehension.

As far as I am concerned, the new monthly STD report for America's AIDS model city, should be page one news and widely disseminated.


[If this link is broken, go to, then scroll down to the monthly STD reports.]


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