HIV infections among Africans in the state of Minnesota increased last year, with 48 new diagnoses, reports U.S.-based African newspaper Mshale (, 5/5). In 2007, 37 percent of new HIV infections among Minnesota’s women were African women, and 10 percent of infections among men were among African men.

According to the article, it is still too early to determine the exact reason for this rise in infections, but experts speculate that the surge in African infections is a result of a lack of education, HIV/AIDS stigma and gender inequality.

Japheth Nyakundi, a program specialist with the Minnesota Department of Health, believes that the rise in new cases of reported HIV infections among Africans may be due to increased testing and HIV awareness. “It is not necessarily a bad thing that these numbers have gone up,” Nyakundi told Mshale, adding that Africans who test positive are then in a position to consider beginning treatment.