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Arizona Makes Strides In HIV Care, But New Cases On The Rise

People with HIV are getting treatment and living longer in Arizona, but more people are being diagnosed with the disease.

This week, the Arizona Department of Health Services released its annual report, which shows a slight increase in 2016. About 780 people were diagnosed last year compared to 730 in 2015.

The number of new cases has been rising slowly in recent years.

"It’s not a profound uptick, but a slight uptick," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

But Humble said there is some promising news, too.

The report shows more people are getting into treatment, lowering their viral load and living longer.

“That trend over the last five years is continuing to go up. Part of that, I think, is our efforts in the community to get people  into care. But also, quite frankly, part of that is getting more people health insurance," Humble said, referring to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.

Men who have sex with men account for 60 percent of new cases. Meanwhile, Arizona’s black population continues to be disproportionately affected. Rates of new cases for that group have nearly doubled since 2010.

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Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.