HIV Infection Up 87% Among Black And Latino Gay and Bisexual Youth
Thirty years after the first reported case of HIV, the overall number of new diagnoses continues to fall in the U.S. Among the general population, HIV infection is down by 20 percent. But for two demographics, the threat of HIV is still on the rise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report that shows a nearly 87 percent increase in the number of new HIV infections between 2005 and 2014 among Black and Latino gay and bisexual males, ages 13-24.
Dr. Eugene McCray, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said that there is a high prevalence of HIV in the African-American gay and bisexual community. Part of the problem, he said, is the low adherence to condom use. However, an even bigger problem is the low rate of HIV testing that occurs within this group.
Among the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S., almost one out of eight (12.8 percent) are unaware of their diagnosis. But among young, Black, gay and bisexual men, almost one out of three living with HIV do not know their status.
Black and Latino transgender women also represent a group that is greatly at-risk for HIV. A CDC report released in December 2014 states that an estimated 27 percent of transgender women are HIV positive and an estimated 90 percent of newly diagnosed trans women were Black or Latino.
Although Black and Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender women are different groups, the reasons for their increased risk for HIV are similar. According to the CDC, some of the factors that lend to increased risk are drug and alcohol abuse, homophobia and transphobia, lack of familial support, violence, stigma, discrimination, lack of access to health care, and negative health care encounters.
This week, HIV prevention leaders from across the country are meeting at the CDC’s National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta. Among the top concerns being discussed at the conference is how to target these at-risk populations, provide quality health care and counter the disparity of risk for Black and Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender women.
Overall, HIV infection among Black and Latino gay and bisexual men has increased by about 22 percent over the past decade, but has been leveling off since 2010. In the same period, HIV infection has decreased 35 percent among heterosexuals, 22 percent among all African-Americans, and 63 percent among intravenous drug users. HIV infection has decreased by nearly half among African American women.