Number of AIDS Cases in Illinois Drops

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State health officials say the number of Illinois AIDS cases in 2003 dropped to the lowest total in six years.

Public Health Director Eric Whitaker says the 2003 total was nearly half as many cases as the previous year, but he says part of that is due to changes in reporting in 2002. That year, the state saw a surge in cases after the state launched an effort to better report a backlog of cases from the city of Chicago.

Whitaker says not much has changed with the AIDS epidemic. He says the disease is very preventable but people continue to make risky choices.

In 2003, Illinois reported 1,301 AIDS cases. That compares to 2,241 in 2002. Since the epidemic began in 1981, Illinois has counted 30,206 AIDS cases. That's the sixth highest state total in the United States.