A new report from the state health department shows wide disparities among people with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, with more new cases in 2011 among communities of color, gay and bisexual men and people in their 20s than other groups.
Overall, the number of new HIV cases reported in Minnesota last year fell slightly from the year before, with 292 new cases reported in 2011, or 12 percent less than the 331 cases reported in 2010. There are 7,136 people living with HIV in the state.
Poverty and social factors play a big role in the transmission of HIV, said Peter Carr, STD and AIDS director for the Minnesota Department of Health.
"Access to care, access to prevention services, things that get in the way of people being able to make healthy choices," Carr said. "There is some really strong and new evidence that suggests that those factors like where you live are as important as anything in determining your health status."
Where a person lives also factors into the spread of HIV, he said.
"The importance of social factors like education, income, nutrition, housing and neighborhoods — those types of factors are really powerful drivers of ongoing HIV transmission in those communities," he said.
Carr said testing, care and treatment, and safe sex practices can help cut HIV transmission rates.