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Austin Has Third Highest HIV Infection Rate in Texas

Antiretroviral drug illustration
Photo illustration courtesy Pigi Mazzoli
Antiretroviral drugs help many HIV patients live longer, healthier lives.

Here's a grim statistic to chew on this World AIDS Day: Austin has the third highest percentage of people living with HIV in Texas. We used to fourth, behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, respectively. But as of 2009, we've displaced San Antonio for the third spot.

Here are the HIV infection rates from 2009, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.  

  • Houston: 404.4 cases per 100,000 people (0.404 percent)
  • Dallas: 364.6 cases per 100,000 people (0.365 percent)
  • Austin: 265.6 cases per 100,000 people (0.266 percent)
  • San Antonio: 244.6 cases per 100,000 people (0.245 percent)
  • Fort Worth: 195.9 cases per 100,000 people (0.196 percent)

"I think there's been a sort of leveling off in the number of cases," City of Austin's HIV Resources Administration Unit manager Mark Peppler told KUT News. "We'll still probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS per year."
"There's one population where we have seen slight increases, and that's among men who have sex with men, which in this work we refer to as MSM," he said. "That is a concern." He says it represents a shift from the 1990s when the HIV infection rate among MSM was declining.

Data provided by KUT by Pepplers suggests "one reason for this change may be the increase in risky sexual activities with anonymous or pseudonymous partners who meet over the Internet."

Listen to KUT's Crystal Chavez's interviewwith the people who run Doug's House, a local hospice for people in the final stages of AIDS releated illness.

AIDS Services of Austin is offering free HIV testing from 1 pm until 7 pm tomorrow at 7215 Cameron Road. No appointments are necessary.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.