CDC: Majority of HIV Infections Are Among Gays, Black Men

A new analysis of HIV infection data shows that the majority of infections are among men who have sex with men and that African-American men -- both gay and straight -- are the most affected U.S. ethnic group.

BY admin

September 15 2008 11:00 PM ET

A new analysis of
HIV infection data by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention shows that the majority of infections
occurring in the country each year are among men who
have sex with men and that African-American men --
both gay and straight -- are the most affected U.S.
ethnic group.

Last month the
CDC announced that new HIV reporting procedures and
technologies indicated that the annual rate of U.S. HIV
infections was 40% higher than initially believed,
with about 56,300 infections occurring each year.

The new analysis
of the data shows that 72% of all new HIV infections
occurring among men were due to sexual contact with other
men. Among white men, 81% of infections were due to
male-to-male sexual activity, compared to 63% among
black men, and 72% among Hispanic men.

The analysis also
found that the majority of HIV infections occurring
among gay and bisexual black and Hispanic men were among
those ages 13 to 29, while among white men who have
sex with men the infection rate was highest among
those ages 30 to 39. According to the data, the number of
new HIV infections among African-American men who have sex
with men was double that of white and Hispanic men.

Women and girls
account for about 27% of new HIV infections each year,
with more than 80% of these due to high-risk sexual contact
with men. The HIV infection rate among
African-American women is 15 times higher than that of
white women, according to the data. Overall,
African-Americans account for 46% of all new HIV
infections each year, despite representing only 12% of
the U.S. population.

Phill Wilson, CEO
of the Los Angeles–based Black AIDS Institute, said
that new data makes it clear that the federal government
must increase its HIV prevention initiatives targeting
African-Americans. “The fundamental question
is, Why aren't we doing a better job of responding to
the epidemic in black America?" Wilson told the
Philadelphia Inquirer.

Richard Wolitski,
acting director of the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS
Prevention, told the San Francisco Chronicle
that the high number of new infections among gay and
bisexual men -- particularly young men who have sex
with men -- is due both to a “lack of access to
effective HIV prevention services” and to an
“underestimation of personal risk. Many younger
men [also] have not personally experienced the
severity of the early AIDS epidemic.”

To read the
CDC’s full analysis of its HIV infection data, visit
www.cdc.gov/mmWR/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5736a1.htm.
(Bob Adams, The Advocate)

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