Over the last few decades, the fast spread of HIV in America has been a cause of concern for health authorities and policymakers across the country. Owning to the increasing numbers of newly diagnosed cases, HIV has been declared an epidemic. The recent goals considering HIV include reducing and ultimately ending the HIV numbers making America HIV-free by 2030.
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Individuals who have contracted HIV can have an everyday normal life if treatment starts in time. However, HIV can also be deadly if it is left untreated. Soon after entering the human body, the virus starts to weaken the body's natural defense system or immune system to a point where the individual doesn't even have any immunity left to fight the common cold or cough. Therefore, getting to know about the HIV status saves from many health complications and even death. Research shows that the rate of HIV-related deaths is threefold higher in late diagnosis of the disease.
HIV is a fast-spreading virus, and it stays silent for a long time after entering the human body. The symptoms only start when the virus is in its last stage and has destroyed the immune system. The popular modes of transmission of the virus include sexual contact with an infected person through body fluids like blood and semen and the use of contaminated syringes and needles.
The Centers for Disease Control, CDC recommends that every individual in the U.S must get tested at least once in their lifetime for HIV. People belonging to gay males, people with more than one sexual partner, transgender men having sexual relations with other men, and individuals who use drugs through syringes and needles often should get tested at least once every year. Early diagnosis enables the HIV-positive patient to live an everyday life at home.
Ranked as 15th among the 50 U.S states in terms of area, Kansas is located in the Midwestern part of the country. The state is known for its diverse and rich history and was home to Native American tribes. According to the U.S Bureau of Census data, the total population of Kansas as calculated in 2019 is 2.9 million making it the 34th most populated U.S state.
Kansas has been ranked as 33rd among the 50 U.S states for having the biggest numbers of people living with HIV. Considering the data from CDC, in 2015, the total number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in adults and adolescents in Kansas was 147. AIDSVu data shows that the number of newly diagnosed cases slightly increased to 155 by 2018. In 2018 the total number of people living with HIV in Kansas was 3,080.
Considering the data from the EPI profile of Kansas, on average, 150 people are annually diagnosed with HIV in the state. The majority of the newly diagnosed cases and people living with HIV in Kansas are found in Kansas City and Wichita areas.
According to AIDSVu’s report, by 2018, 3080 people were living with HIV in Kansas. Most of the cases came were reported in White Americans between the ages of 25 to 44 years. Adults and adolescents of color (Black Americans and Hispanics) remain the ethnic groups disproportionately affected by the virus. The rate of people living with HIV in Kansas per 100,000 population by 2018 was 128, while the prevalence of the virus was more in White American males than their female counterparts.
Government of Kansas has been trying to streamline the health authorities' efforts, federal and state funding towards a bigger goal of creating an HIV-free state. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has a dedicated HIV Surveillance Program that analyzes the trends in the infection, monitors the cases, and provides information on various prevention and care activities. CDC funds the program, and it provides a policy guideline and a funding guideline for various federal programs to support HIV patients.
Healthy Living Project is another initiative that provides educational and additional support services to people living with HIV or those individuals who are at risk of HIV/AIDS. Under this project, free HIV/STI testing is made available to all state residents. The project has also been acting as a bridge between HIV patients and HIV care providers.
AIDS Drug Assistance Program, ADAP helps people living with HIV that belong to low-income groups. HIV-positive patients, who don't have access to medications, are uninsured, or are underinsured are eligible to apply for this project. ADAP has various financial assistance and treatment plans for those who cannot afford to get the medications and treatment otherwise.
Statistics from the AIDSVu report show that the prevalence of the virus was more in males than females. In 2018 out of the total numbers of people living with HIV, 80.6% were males while 19.4 % were females. In the new diagnosis, 83.9% were males, while 16.1% were females.
By the end of 2018, there were a total of 3,080 people living with HIV in Kansas. During the same year, 155 individuals were newly diagnosed with the disease. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 population in 2018 was 128, while the rate of newly diagnosed cases per 100,000 population in Kansas in the same year was 6.
According to the same report, White Americans were mainly affected by HIV. In 2018, 49.9 % were of the people living with HIV were White Americans, 25.5% were Black Americans, and 17.3% were Hispanic or Latin. People belonging to the age group 55 and above were affected mainly by the virus (31.1%), followed by 45 to 54 years (28.5%). 19.9% of the total numbers belonged to the age group 25 to 34 years, while 20.4% of the people living with HIV in Kansas were adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 24 years.
HIV-related deaths in Kansas during 2018 were 47. The rate of death per 100,000 population was 2. Of the total numbers, 72.3% were males, and 27.7% were females. Considering the modes of transmission of the virus, the report shows that 75.9% of the cases in males were reported due to male sexual contact, 5.8% due to heterosexual contact, and 5.3% due to the use of contaminated syringes and injection drug use. In females, 78.9% of the cases were reported due to heterosexual contact, while 17.6% were due to injection drug use.