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New York City
blacks hit hard by HIV

New York City
blacks hit hard by HIV

African-Americans account for half of all New York City AIDS deaths.

A new report by New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene illustrates the disproportionate impact HIV is having on African-Americans--though representing about 25% of the city's population, blacks account for half of all the city's AIDS deaths, The New York Times reports. The report also shows that 20% of black men ages 40-49 in the city are HIV-positive, that African-American women die of AIDS at nine times the rate of white women in the city, and that black men die at six times the rate of white men.

Although HIV prevalence in the city was at its highest level in the predominantly gay white Manhattan neighborhood Chelsea, with 153 of every 100,000 residents infected with the virus, central Harlem had the second-highest rate of 119 cases per 100,000 people. And HIV-positive residents of central Harlem were twice as likely to die of AIDS-related complications than Chelsea residents, according to the health department's report.

The report says some of the reasons for HIV's disproportionate impact among African-Americans is that many black city residents have not been screened for HIV infection, it is difficult to get and to keep African-American HIV patients into care, and a high level of HIV stigma in minority communities still exists. City health officials say that one key reason AIDS death rates are lower among gay white men in the city is because they self-advocated when they were the focus of the city's AIDS epidemic, while many African-Americans would rather die of the disease than to publicly disclose that they are infected. (

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