timberland mens HIV hits American Indians at high rate in Minnesota

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DULUTH, Minn. The rate of hepatitis C among American Indians in Minnesota is “terrifyingly higher” than for other racial and ethnic groups, a state epidemiologist said on Thursday. The occasion was the Health Department’s annual release of data for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis A, B and C in Minnesota.

The chronic liver disease a virus that’s often abbreviated as HCV also is seen at a relatively high rate outside of the Twin Cities metro area, said Kristin Sweet of the Minnesota Department of Health.”A lot of people think hepatitis C is an urban issue,” Sweet said. “And a lot of that is because of historical factors and different traditions.”Most of the diseases for which data were released on Thursday were much more common in the metro area than for the rest of the state. “They’re missing an opportunity to get into treatment” by not catching it earlier, Hill said.”>

The chronic liver disease a virus that’s often abbreviated as HCV also is seen at a relatively high rate outside of the Twin Cities metro area, said Kristin Sweet of the Minnesota Department of Health.

“A lot of people think hepatitis C is an urban issue,” Sweet said. “Our data do not hold to that.”

The statistics for Indians with HIV also was surprisingly high.

In 2014, the rate of American Indians living with AIDS in Minnesota was 4,
timberland mens HIV hits American Indians at high rate in Minnesota
102 out of every 100,000, Sweet said. That was nearly double the rate for blacks or African Americans and far above the rates for Hispanics, Asians or Pacific islanders and whites, all of which were below the rate of 500 for every 100,000.

The reason for this is not clear .

“American Indian culture is slightly different than the non native culture up here,” said Ellen Hill, the Health Department’s epidemiologist for Northeastern Minnesota. “And a lot of that is because of historical factors and different traditions.”

Most of the diseases for which data were released on Thursday were much more common in the metro area than for the rest of the state. But it was closer for hepatitis C greater Minnesota is responsible for 39 percent of the cases and about 45 percent of the overall population.

That might be because HCV, which is linked to injecting drugs, is most prevalent among baby boomers, and the population is older outside of the metro area, Hill said. The virus can lie dormant for years or even decades before showing itself, so baby boomers who may not have injected drugs since the 1960s or 1970s suddenly could find themselves diagnosed with HCV.

The median age for people with HCV in Minnesota is 56, according to the Health Department data.

Overall, 43,543 Minnesotans were identified as having HCV last year, Sweet said. But it’s estimated that more than 19,
timberland mens HIV hits American Indians at high rate in Minnesota
000 cases went undetected.