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NC Department of Health and Human Services

New estimates profile new HIV infections in North Carolina

Release Date: September 12, 2008
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – A new analysis of recently released North Carolina HIV incidence data provides, for the first time, a breakdown of new HIV infection estimates among various racial groups, transmission categories and age groups, as well as by gender.

Using methodology from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state officials were able to calculate an estimate of 2,356 people newly infected with HIV in the state in 2006. The previous report indicated that the CDC estimate of new HIV infections in North Carolina was 2,200 people. Differences in the two statistics are due in part to more recent data availability in the state and differences in methods of eliminating interstate duplication of cases.

More important than exact numbers, however, is the demographic breakdown of these estimates for the state and the comparison to national statistics.

The North Carolina rate of new HIV infections in 2006 (32.2 cases per 100,000 population) more than 40 percent higher than the national rate (22.6 per 100,000). While national data showed that 45 percent of new HIV infections were among blacks or African Americans, in North Carolina the proportion was about 67 percent.

The new data showed that 20 percent of new HIV infections in North Carolina were among people 50 years of age and older, while nationally that age group represented only 10 percent of new infections.

Additional findings in the North Carolina HIV incidence data indicated that about 72 percent all new HIV infections in 2006 were for men, and approximately 57 percent of infections were for men who have sex with men (MSM). Numbers of cases in other categories were too small to compute estimates or rates.

“These differences in the estimates between North Carolina and national data are not surprising; our traditional surveillance data suggested this might be the case,” said State Health Director Leah Devlin.  “But both the state and national estimates of the numbers of new HIV infections each year illustrate the critical need for adequate funding of HIV prevention efforts.

“The data also illustrate the continuing need to direct prevention efforts to groups that are disproportionately affected, if we are to reduce the number of new HIV infections in our state,” said State HIV/AIDS Director Evelyn Foust. “Those groups include African Americans and Hispanics, as well as men who have sex with men.”

More information about North Carolina’s HIV Incidence Surveillance Project can be found in the 2007 North Carolina Epidemiologic Profile for HIV/STD Prevention & Care Planning. Search for “Profile for HIV/STD” on the N.C. Division of Public Health website at


Updated: January 15, 2009