Health officials: New HIV diagnoses on decline in Chicago

New HIV diagnoses in Chicago continue to go down and have declined for four consecutive years, according to figures released by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago’s health department.

The 734 new diagnoses reported in 2018 among Chicago residents are the lowest number since 1988, health officials said Monday.

“A world where we end the HIV epidemic is within our reach, and these latest findings prove that Chicago is on track to end the HIV epidemic by 2030," Lightfoot said in a release. “Chicagoans will not rest until we achieve functional zero, meaning we will continue to increase access to care and services, expand our work with community partners and strengthen the quality of life for every city resident.”

Chicago Department of Public Health’s 2019 HIV/STI surveillance report shows 23,580 people were living with HIV through the end of 2017, the year for which most current data is available.

The health department’s HIV Services Portfolio is awarding more than $40 million annually to over 60 community-based and health care organizations.

“Our funding follows the epidemic to ensure resources are allocated to areas and populations with the greatest needs,” health department acting commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. “Through integration of funding and programming, we can reach more people and make sure no one falls through the cracks.”

While HIV rates are declining in Chicago, other sexually transmitted infections are rising. More than 30,600 cases of chlamydia, nearly 12,700 cases of gonorrhea and 877 primary and secondary cases of syphilis were reported to the health department in 2018.