A study presented Tuesday at the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco shows that about 4% of all men between the ages of 40 and 49 living in New York City are HIV-positive, Reuters Health reports. The overall infection rate in the city is about 1%, according to the report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The statistics were based on data available as of December 31, 2001. In 2001, there were 6,662 newly diagnosed cases of HIV reported to the health department. Nearly 27% of those new cases already had progressed to AIDS at the time of diagnosis. A new test run by the health department to determine whether the infections were recent also showed that 21% of the newly reported HIV cases in the city occurred less than six months prior to testing.
The study also showed that African-Americans in the city are five times as likely to contract HIV as whites, while Latinos' HIV risk is 2.5 times greater than whites'. "Our new cases of HIV are more likely to be women, more likely to be black, and more likely to be in the category of heterosexual or 'no discernable risk,' " Lucia Torian, head of the health department's HIV program, told Newsday. HIV infections among gay men have remained relatively steady in the city, at about 1,100 per year, according to the study. But separate research showing that about half of the HIV-positive gay men in the city regularly have unprotected anal sex has health officials worried that the infection rate could begin rising soon. "This is a prescription for a resurgent, explosive HIV epidemic," Torian says. "Have we seen it yet? No. Could we? Definitely."