New cases of HIV/AIDS increased by 8 percent in 2012, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Tuesday.
More than 10,000 cases have been reported since the health department began tracking HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. About 7,500 Minnesotans are now living with HIV.
Most of the 315 new HIV cases were reported in the Twin Cities area, and one third of the cases were among people in their 20s.
There were 23 new HIV cases among drug injection users, up from 11 in 2011. While health officials have seen an uptick in heroin use, health department epidemiologist Kris Ehresmann said it's not clear if that trend is having an impact on HIV cases among drug injection users.
As in past years, new cases of HIV disproportionately affected communities of color, especially American Indians. The new HIV cases also were common among men who have sex with other men, representing 69 percent of new male HIV cases.
The Minnesota Department of Health's full HIV/AIDS report is available on its website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that health providers screen everyone ages 13 to 64 for HIV as a means to help stop transmission.
Ehresmann said treatment is also an important prevention strategy.
"There's a new emphasis on treatment as prevention, because we know that if we can get individuals who are HIV-positive into treatment, people in treatment have a 96 percent reduction in their transmission rate," said Ehresmann, who directs the health department's Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division. "That means that the likelihood that they would spread HIV to anyone else is greatly reduced."
Health officials use the annual HIV/AIDS report to help decide where to deploy more resources, including education campaigns.
"Anytime we see an increase in any population, whether it's young men who have sex with men or it's injecting drug users, that's concerning to us and so we'll be looking at what resources can we provide, what kind of education can we do to stop and prevent transmission in those communities," Ehresmann said.