News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   June 5, 2001

Christine Grant

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley


June 5th Marks 20 Years of HIV/AIDS in New Jersey
Like Rest of Nation

TRENTON - Marking twenty years since the national recognition of the disease that would come to be known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant today said that until there is a cure, the Department will continue to serve those in New Jersey with HIV/AIDS and to educate the public on prevention.

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) today also released its quarterly statistical report showing that 57,163 residents have been reported with HIV/AIDS since 1981 - with about one half of these individuals dying from the disease.

"On this day, as we remember those who died of AIDS, give our support to those living with HIV/AIDS, and applaud the efforts of those working on prevention and treatment as well as those searching for the elusive cure, we cannot give in to complacency," said Grant.

"We will continue aggressively educating our diverse population on how best to protect themselves from HIV infection," said Grant. "We will also continue our outreach efforts to ensure that people at risk are tested and, when found with the virus, receive the kinds of medical treatments that are now prolonging and increasing the quality of life for persons with HIV/AIDS."

"People - particularly young people who may not have witnessed firsthand the ravages of AIDS - must remember there is no cure for AIDS, and while treatments exist, preventing infection is the key to stopping the spread of this deadly disease," Grant added.

Here is an overview on the face of AIDS in New Jersey over the past two decades:

  • Of those persons who have been reported with HIV/AIDS, 39,245 (69%) have been male, and 17,918 (31%) have been female.
  • New Jersey has the highest proportion of women reported with AIDS. Both heterosexual transmission and injection drug use are the major sources of the disease among women.
  • Injection drug use has been the most frequently reported mode of transmission in New Jersey, accounting for 24,299 (43%) of all HIV/AIDS reports.
  • Men who have sex with men has accounted for 10,274 HIV/AIDS reports (18%). An additional 1,899 infected men were men who have sex with men and were also injection drug users.
  • Heterosexual transmission has been reported in 8,291 (15%) of all those persons reported with HIV/AIDS.
  • The racial/ethnic breakdown of persons reported with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey is 32,529 (57%) African-American, 14,189 (25%) White, and 9,856 (17%) Hispanic
  • About one-half (27,889) of persons reported with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey have died, including 63% of those who developed full-blown AIDS. Of all those residents reported with HIV/AIDS who have died, 15,879 (57%) were African American, 7,904 (28%) were White, and 3,971 (14%) were Hispanic. Those who have died include 20,546 (74%) males and 7,343 (26%) females.
  • As of March 31, 2001, there are 29,274 persons known living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey. This figure has been steadily increasing, rising from 26,753 in 1999, and 23,568 in 1997. Those living with HIV/AIDS include 10,575 (36%) women, 16,650 (57%) African-American, and 5,885 (10%) Hispanics.

"While HIV/AIDS deaths saw a slight increase in 1999, overall they are down dramatically since 1995," said Health and Senior Services Deputy Commissioner George DiFerdinando, M.D.

"Because the disease's treatment over the past 10 years has grown in complexity and success," said Dr. DiFerdinando, "it affects the death rate in various ways. Many of these deaths should be viewed as treatment successes because the individuals outlived their initial life expectancy for this illness over an extended period."

For more information on counseling and testing, call the New Jersey AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-624-2377.

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