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AIDS. 1993 Nov;7(11):1517-21.

AIDS in Colorado Springs: is there an epidemic?

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El Paso County, Department of Health and Environment, Colorado Springs, CO 80910.



To analyze trends and patterns of HIV infection in a medium-sized community in the United States.


Surveillance for AIDS and HIV infection was conducted by private physicians, military and public clinics, and blood and plasma donation centers. HIV-positive individuals were contacted and asked to refer their sex and injection partners for HIV-antibody testing. Prostitutes, injecting drug users and their sex partners were studied. Selected physicians were surveyed to assess under-reporting.


The 740 HIV-infected adults (67 with documented seroconversion) included 506 with no evidence of AIDS, 58 living with AIDS, and 176 who had died. Of the 126 patients cared for by local physicians, 107 (85%) had been reported. No major changes in behavioral risk factors or increases in the number of HIV-infected individuals occurred between 1986 (128) and 1992 (95).


Characteristics of individuals at risk and incidence of HIV infection have remained stable from 1981 to 1992. Analysis of data from the comprehensive surveillance and control program established in Colorado Springs in response to the AIDS epidemic suggests that, unlike the nation's epicenters, HIV incidence in this location is neither widespread nor rapidly increasing. The age distribution of reported cases is slowly increasing, and the ratio of newly reported cases to deaths is declining, implying stable or decreasing incidence; deaths may soon exceed new cases. Using data routinely available to public health officials, we conclude that the epidemiologic picture of AIDS--like the clinical one--must be heterogeneous, and that rational planning for the impact of AIDS should be based on the collection and analysis of local data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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