FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Connecticut Department of Public Health

October 21, 2008                                          Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                      (860) 509-7270


HartfordThe Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced state data estimating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) incidence in Connecticut based on a new and more accurate estimation technique developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


The CDC recently published national HIV incidence estimates for 2006 are based on data from 22 sites, including Connecticut.  CDC reported that in 2006, an estimated 56,300 new HIV infections occurred nationwide– a number that is substantially higher than the previous estimate of 40,000 annual new infections.


“The new incidence estimates are valuable because they provide a clearer understanding of who is most at risk,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.  “This data also suggests there is still significant transmission of HIV occurring due to unsafe sex and injection drug use.” 


The national data show that there has been an increase in infections among gay men since the mid 90s.  Fifty-three percent of 2006 infections occurred in this population.  Notably, blacks were shown to be seven times more likely to be infected than whites with Hispanics at an almost three-fold higher risk.


The Connecticut estimate indicates that 585 people were newly infected with HIV in 2006.  As with the US estimate, there were specific groups at higher risk for HIV infection in Connecticut.  Men are at twice the risk of women and the risk for both blacks and Hispanics is six times higher than in whites.


“We know that science-based prevention interventions and testing work in helping to prevent the spread of HIV,” stated Dr. Galvin.  “These prevention efforts will need to be consistent, vigorously applied, and targeted to those individuals at the highest risk to be the most effective.”


Such high risk of infection in minority populations and gay men is of particular concern and requires creative prevention efforts at the national, state, and local level.  Dr. Galvin emphasized “to have the greatest impact we must continue to offer services that we know prevent HIV infection, like needle exchange and distribution of condoms.” 


In Connecticut, HIV prevention efforts include programs that offer HIV counseling and testing at no cost, needle exchange, risk reduction counseling, drug treatment advocacy, and other HIV prevention initiatives. 


Most Connecticut programs are modeled after interventions identified by CDC as having rigorous study methods and demonstrated evidence of effectiveness in reducing sex- and drug-related risk behaviors or improving health outcomes.

For more information about HIV and AIDS and a link to the CDC findings, visit the DPH web site at and click “Programs and Services” then click the “HIV/AIDS” program link, or call 509-7900.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at  or call (860) 509-7270.