The number of new HIV cases in Minnesota increased by 13 percent from 2008 to 2009, and Minnesota Department of Health officials said the number was a 17-year high.
In a preliminary report released Tuesday, health officials said 368 new HIV cases were reported in 2009, compared with 326 cases in 2008.
The state started tracking AIDS in 1982 and HIV in 1985. A total of 9,176 cases have been reported since then.
Health officials said the latest numbers show HIV/AIDS is still a significant threat in Minnesota.
"We need to take steps to strengthen our prevention efforts," said state Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan in a Health Department news release.
Peter Carr, manager of the HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease Section at the Health Department, attributed the increase to a large increase in HIV infections among males 15-24 years old. There were 95 cases reported in that age group in 2009, compared with 59 cases in 2008. About 81 percent of the 2009 cases in young people were in males.
Carr also said health officials don't believe the jump occurred simply because of more testing.
"We do not think that the case increase is simply explained by more testing, since there is no indication that public clinics provided more HIV tests in 2009," he said in a written statement.
Health officials said the new HIV cases were concentrated within the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
The full 2009 preliminary report on HIV/AIDS by the Department of Health is available here.