The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced last Tuesday in Boston at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections that 1 out of every 2 African-American gay or bisexual men would be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes if the current trends continue.
The center’s researchers based their information on death data from 2009 to 2013, also including information about their sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and current state of residence.
The report says that amongst gay and bisexual men, African-Americans and people who live in the South have the highest risk of infection. Among men who have sex with men, the risk of HIV infection is 1 in 6. After breaking it down by race, it seems more troubling. For black men who have sex with men, the risk is 1 in 2; for Latinos, 1 in 4; for whites, 1 in 11.
With regards to location, people who live in the District of Columbia have the highest risk in the United States, followed by men in Maryland, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. Even though there are studies that show that African-Americans do not engage in riskier sexual encounters than other races or ethnicities, the CDC points out that there are other figures that may pose risk including “higher prevalence within the community, which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter; lack of access to health care; poverty; and stigma.”
The research also found more information about HIV in relation with race and ethnicity:
- Not accounting for race or ethnicity, one in six men who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV if current rates persist. That’s a higher rate than women who inject drugs (one in 23) and men who inject drugs (one in 26). Heterosexual women face a rate of one in 241, and for heterosexual men, it’s one in 473. The report did not include data on gay or bisexual women.
- One in 20 black men will be diagnosed with HIV during his lifetime, the highest rate among different ethnicities and genders. Black women and Hispanic men both face rates of one in 48, while one in 132 white men will receive an HIV diagnosis. One in 227 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with HIV in her life, while one in 880 white women will be.
These findings point to major community disparities where health is concerned.
(TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)