HIV in San Francisco

Six years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a front-page story declaring a new HIV infection crisis among gay men:

San Francisco's long-feared and often predicted new wave of HIV infection is here. After years of stability - wrought by strong prevention programs, a safer-sex ethic and powerful drugs - city health experts now estimate that the number of new infections by the virus that causes AIDS nearly doubled, to 900, in the past year.

"This is a harbinger of what is going to happen all over the country," warned Tom Coates, director of the University of California at San Francisco AIDS Research Institute. "What happens in the HIV epidemic usually happens here first." ... "We are very concerned, and we are very worried,'' said San Francisco Department of Public Health epidemiologist Dr. Willi McFarland. "These are sub-Saharan African levels of transmission."

The New York Times ran a front-page story echoing this prediction. Richard Cohen at the Washington Post wrote a column last year, bemoaning an "apparent upsurge" of HIV infection. Well, here's the latest report from San Francisco, noted by blogger Michael Petrelis:

"The current HIV/AIDS epidemic is characterized by no apparent increases in HIV infection rates over the past five years, and with considerable decreases in some populations. A number of factors may account for these trends. San Francisco's community-based prevention and treatment responses deserve some credit, bringing our per capita rate of AIDS incidence down from the highest in America to its present rank as number seven."

Gay men in San Francisco are doing something right. And if you relied on the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times or Richard Cohen at the Washington Post, you'd have believed exactly the opposite. I always find it weird when the MSM asks me how you can trust blogs. In many areas, blogs are far more reliable than the MSM.