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SCIENCE REPORT – August 29, 2001: AIDS in the United States - 2001-08-28

This is the VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT.

The disease AIDS was first reported in the United States twenty years ago. By the end of last year, more than seven-hundred-seventy-four-thousand Americans had AIDS. More than four-hundred-forty-eight-thousand Americans had died from the disease.

Recently, American health officials released new information on the problem of AIDS in the United States. Their reports suggest that the number of Americans infected with H-I-V, the virus that causes AIDS, has remained the same in the past few years. The health officials warned of a possible increase in the number of infections unless more is done to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Officials with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the findings. The C-D-C officials said the number of AIDS cases and deaths dropped sharply during the Nineteen-Nineties. But they said both numbers have changed little since Nineteen-Ninety-Eight. The C-D-C said about forty-thousand people became newly infected with H-I-V in each of the past two years. In each of those years, about sixteen-thousand Americans died from AIDS infections.

Helene Gayle is the director for AIDS prevention with the C-D-C. Doctor Gayle proposed steps to reduced the number of AIDS infections and deaths. They include expanding testing for the AIDS virus. Improving medical care for patients. And finding new treatments for patients in whom the virus becomes resistant to medicines.

Evidence from several American cities suggests that AIDS remains a serious problem among some groups. One study was done in Seattle, Washington. It studied men who had sexual relations with men. It found that the rate of unprotected sex among the homosexual men increased between Nineteen-Ninety-Four and Two-Thousand. American experts strongly suggest the use of condoms to protect against the spread of AIDS. The same study found that the number of homosexual men who had six or more sex partners in the past year has increased.

Another study examined mostly poor black women in Atlanta, Georgia. That study found that sixty percent of the women did not know if their sex partner was infected with the AIDS virus. It also found that almost half the women questioned said their partner had not worn a condom.

This VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT was written by George Grow.