New HIV cases on the rise in Florida
According to reports on the weekend, health officials in Florida, United States, are reporting that they are now seeing a resurgence in HIV cases, especially among adolescents and young adults. Florida is now ranked number one with new cases.
Nearly 5,400 Floridians were diagnosed with HIV in 2013, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Dr Michael Wohlfeiler, chief of medicine for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said 13- to 24-year-old males make up the fastest-growing group of new infections.
"They were not alive when we went through what I call the Holocaust era of AIDS, where everybody was dying from this disease," Wohlfeiler reported.
"A young person comes in for his or her first visit with me. The attitude at the beginning of the visit is very nonchalant, like this is not a big deal," Wohlfeiler continued. "By the end of the visit, often the attitude has changed."
Increasing infection rates are also being seen in those age 50 and older, according to Wohlfeiler.
"Part of the reason we are seeing new infections in older groups of men who have sex with men is what I would actually term a kind of 'gay mid-life crisis', where they were HIV negative for years and years, getting tested regularly and then they went through a period as they were facing middle age of becoming more sexually active," Wohlfeiler said.
Health officials also say up to 60 per cent of teens and young adults who are infected don't know they are HIV-positive - and are unknowingly spreading the disease.
The AIDS Foundation is now trying to create a more aggressive media campaign to remind people that the benefits of safe sex far outweigh the risks of the disease.