Monday, February 9, 2015
Black Americans make up a disproportionate share of the population newly infected with HIV, and they're more likely to die from the disease, according to two studies released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The first study looked at 2013 data submitted by 61 health departments and 151 community-based organizations around the country. The analysis found that black Americans accounted for 54.9% of all newly identified HIV-positive people at CDC-funded testing events — even though they make up roughly 12% of the US population, and about 45% of those tested at the events. The second study found that the death rate per 1,000 Americans 13 and older living with HIV dropped from 28.4 among black Americans in 2008 to 20.5 in 2012. Although this was the largest decline among all racial and ethnic groups, black individuals with HIV were 13% more likely to die in 2012 than their white counterparts and 47% more likely than their Hispanic peers. Things are even worse for gay black men. Although gay and bisexual men make up just 2% of the U.S. population, they are nearly 66% of the nation’s new HIV infections each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that new HIV infections are stable or declining in all other groups, but increasing among gay and bisexual men in the United States. Between 2008 and 2010, there was a 12% increase in new HIV infections among gay men nationally, and gay youth (ages 13–24) are especially vulnerable. In the same time period, the CDC reported an astounding 22% increase in new HIV infections among gay youth. What’s more, young black gay men continue to bear the brunt of new HIV infections. The heavy impact of HIV on black Americans is primarily borne by black gay men. Black gay men are three times more likely to acquire HIV than white gay men, and 22 times more likely to acquire HIV compared with the general black American population. Although black gay men represent just 1.4% of the black community, they represent 53% of new HIV infections among black Americans each year. Even more disturbing is that a quarter of new HIV infections among all Americans each year occur among black gay men. In fact, if you monitored a group of young black gay men from ages 20 to 40, 25% would be HIV-positive by age 25 and nearly 60% would be HIV-positive by age 40. This mirrors rates of HIV infection in some of the hardest-hit regions of the world.