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CDC: AIDS In Gay Drug Users Lower

June 2, 2000

ATLANTA (AP) _ Though AIDS has declined among gay men who use intravenous drugs, the government said many of them continue to share needles and have unprotected sex _ behaviors that spread the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 5 percent of men in that high-risk group had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1998, down from 8 percent in 1990. The decline is due in large part to increased use of antiretroviral therapies that delay disease progression, the CDC said.

A survey of 513 men in the high-risk group who were diagnosed with AIDS from 1996 to 1998 showed many are taking part in risky behavior that can spread the disease to other groups.

The survey showed that, in the past five years, 82 percent had used drugs, 34 percent had used intravenous drugs and 15 percent had shared needles. It also showed that 76 percent had sex with men and 43 percent had sex with women. Nearly half of those who were sexually active did not use condoms.

Studying men in this high risk group, the CDC said, was important because they have multiple risks for contracting and spreading the disease.

``Prevention measures that have an impact on that group could possibly prevent transmission to several different groups,″ spokeswoman Pascal Wortley said.

The survey indicated that 85 percent of the men in the high-risk group were 30 to 49 years old.

Forty-four percent of the AIDS cases among the high-risk men in the study were in Southern states and 26 percent in the West. Most of the participants in the study were from those regions.

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On the Net:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report: http://www2.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_wk.html

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