Friday, June 13, 2014
African Americans make up only 12% of the United States of America (USA) population, and yet accounted for over 46% of all HIV diagnoses in 2011
Between 2008-2011, African Americans accounted for 64% of all HIV infections among women; 67% of all HIV infections among children below 13 years old; 42% of all HIV infections among adolescent and adult males and 64% of all HIV infections among adolescent and adult females. The estimated lifetime risk of becoming infected with HIV is 1 in 16 for African American men, and 1 in 32 for African American women, a far higher risk than for people of other ethnic backgrounds or races. The rate (per 100,000 population) of new HIV infections is 8 times larger among the African American community, than that among white people, based on population size. Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s, over half of people who have died of AIDS-related illnesses were African American. Higher levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among African Americans facilitate sexual transmission of HIV. In fact, African Americans are the ethnic group most affected for every type of STI. For example, the prevalence of certain STIs among African Americans compared to white people was: 6.8 times higher for chlamydia, 15 times higher for gonorrhea, and 6 times higher for syphilis. Untreated STIs, especially those that cause sores, heighten the chance of HIV transmission. In 2011, 19% of all HIV infections among African American men were a result of heterosexual sex; and this figure is 89% for women. The low figure for men highlights the enormous proportion of HIV transmissions that were a result of sex between men. Of all HIV infections in 2011 among male African Americans, 72% were transmitted via sex between men.