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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 26, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 09
Dire prediction by CDC: Half of Gay black men will get HIV
Section One
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Dire prediction by CDC: Half of Gay black men will get HIV

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Half of all Gay black men in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The dire new warning was presented at the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections and is based diagnoses and death rates from 2009 to 2013.

The CDC found that while the likelihood of an American of any race being diagnosed with HIV is only one in 99 - down from one in 78, as the CDC reported in 2005 - risk varies significantly by sexual orientation and also by race and ethnicity.

Men who have sex with men have a one in six risk of being diagnosed with HIV, 79 times greater than the risk for straight men. Gay and Bi black men have a one in two risk of contracting HIV, Hispanic men one in four, and white men one in 11.

The racial disparity extends to women as well, with one in 48 black women likely to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, compared to one in 227 Hispanic women and one in 880 white women.

The CDC also reported geographic differences. Living in the South also increases the risk for an HIV diagnosis, with people living in Maryland, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana having the greatest risk.

In its study, the CDC noted that African-Americans do not engage in riskier sexual behavior compared to Americans of other races or ethnicities. Reasons for their higher lifetime risk include a higher prevalence of HIV infections within the African-American community, which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter; lack of access to healthcare; poverty; and stigma.

CDC officials said that funding for prevention programs has increased since 2010 in communities where the need exists, but that not enough has been done to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection.

'As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,' said Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention.

'The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don't scale up efforts now.'

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