Iowa’s HIV numbers hold steady as US figures fall

DES MOINES — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the estimated new HIV infections have fallen nationwide from 2017 to 2021, while Iowa’s new infection rate has remained virtually unchanged.

State medical director Robert Kruse says about 14% of Iowans with HIV are unaware they’re living with the virus. “Public health officials are really recommending, along with the CDC, that those groups, ages 15 to 64, get a once in a lifetime test, just to check their status, regardless of risk,” Kruse says.

Kruse says the rate of new HIV diagnoses have increased among many vulnerable groups, including Iowans born outside the US.  “It’s essential for public health authorities and communities in Iowa to really continue prioritizing HIV prevention and treatment efforts, maintaining consistent and accessible HIV testing, promoting education awareness, really ensuring access to preventive measures,” he says.

Kruse says Iowa has historically had a low HIV rate as compared to the rest of the country.