News Local/State

HIV Infections Down in Illinois; Other STDs Rising


Illinois has seen a decrease in the rate of new infections of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But other sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise.

Medical and public health professionals are meeting in Springfield this week to talk about STD treatment and prevention.

The rate of HIV infections are down 21 percent, and mother-to-child transmissions during pregnancy are down to less than 0.001 percent.

But state Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck said there are plenty of reasons to be concerned, particularly about other types of STDs.

“We have some of the highest rates in the country — we have every single county in the state of Illinois reporting at least one case of Chlamydia, for instance,” Hasbrouck said.

Hasbrouck said the majority of new infections are in the Chicago area. A federal study from 20-10 ranked Cook County first in the nation for reported cases of gonorrhea and syphilis, and second for Chlamydia.

The state Department of Public Health is starting a new condom distribution effort. Other than abstinence, Hasbrouck said condoms are the best way to prevent the transmission of sexual disease.