But at least 17 percent of the increase can be attributed to growth in cases under the old definition, said James McAnaney, supervisor of the city's AIDS surveillance operation. "That's a huge increase," he said.
Since the AIDS epidemic began in 1981, the city has counted more than 5,000 people with AIDS, more than half of whom are now dead.
An estimated 30,000 people in the metropolitan area - including 25,000 in Philadelphia - are now infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Experts say many of these people don't know they are infected.
"We have an ever-expanding epidemic," said Scott.
Although officials have yet to analyze the new cases, they suspect that the growth has occurred primarily among blacks and Hispanics, who now make up about 70 percent of all AIDS cases in the city.
The increased numbers have AIDS-service providers worried about whether they can keep up with the demand for everything from meals to housing to medical care.
"It scares the hell out of me," said Ennes Littell, executive director of ActionAIDS, the city's largest AIDS service provider.
Jeremiah J. White Jr., board president of the Philadelphia AIDS Consortium, an umbrella group, said the increased numbers indicated the need for more education and prevention, especially in minority communities.
"We have to go to the people most at risk," he said.
At a City Hall news conference yesterday, acting Health Commissioner Estelle Richman issued a plea for minorities to get tested for HIV and receive medical treatment.
"People need to understand that while AIDS cannot be cured, help is available," Richman said. She and others emphasized that new drugs, while ineffective against the AIDS virus itself, can help stave off the secondary infections common to AIDS patients, thereby prolonging their lives.
The news conference was sponsored by Philadelphia FIGHT, which conducts community-based trials of experimental AIDS drugs. Eight trials are underway in the city.
Minority leaders urged people infected with HIV to sign up for the trials as one way to get leading-edge medical treatment.
"We are begging the minority community to pick up the phone and call Philadelphia FIGHT and . . . all the organizations out there," said Steve Pina, executive director of One Day At A Time, a drug-rehabilitation group in North Philadelphia.
Jane Shull, executive director of FIGHT, assured minority group members that the drug trials are conducted only with the written consent of participants.
Her comment was aimed at dispelling widespread fear among blacks and Hispanics that they will be used as unwitting guinea pigs to test experimental drugs.
Iris Cabellero, director of health promotion for the Asociacion de Puertorriquenos en Marcha Inc., which does AIDS education in the Puerto Rican community, said she did not know of a single HIV-infected Puerto Rican who was participating in an AIDS drug trial.
Yet, she said, 21 percent of all adult female AIDS cases in the United States are among Latino women. In Philadelphia, where the majority of the Latino population is Puerto Rican, Latinas make up about 12 percent of all adult female cases.
At a noontime demonstration, about 250 people carrying black umbrellas converged on JFK Plaza to commemorate a Day Without Art, part of World AIDS Day. The day focuses on the lost talents of artists who have died of AIDS, usually in the prime of their careers.
"It's just been staggering," said David Acosta, who is raising money for Philadelphia-area artists now living with HIV. "We lost three artists in Philadelphia just this past weekend."
The demonstrators carried black umbrellas to mourn the loss of life and to show their solidarity in combating AIDS.
"It's supposed to be a positive sign, but I feel very sad," said Joyce Howell, 37, a lawyer with the Environmental Protection Agency who took her lunch break to carry an umbrella in the march.
She said several of her classmates at Rutgers University School of Law had become infected with HIV, as had several members of the Quaker meeting she attends.
Elvis Rosado, 28, brought his 16-month-old son, Elvis Jr., to the demonstration. The toddler was draped in an oversized black T-shirt painted with the words "Condoms Save Lives and Ignorance Kills."
Rosado said two members of his family had died of AIDS. "People used to use condoms, but now they are forgetting what the disease can do," he said.
During the demonstration, members of the activist group Act Up hoisted a sign that said, "We want a cure, not a stamp." The sign referred to the government's new postage stamp for AIDS awareness, which went on sale yesterday.