STUDY: Half of Black Gay Men Will Become HIV-Positive
A staggering new study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that gay and bisexual black men have a 50 percent chance of contracting HIV at some point in their life.
For gay and bisexual Hispanic men, the odds of infection are one in four. For gay and bisexual white men, the odds are 1 in 11.
These shocking numbers come at a time when the risk of any American contracting HIV at some point in his or her life has dipped, to one in 99 odds. That’s an improvement from 2004-2005 data that put the overall HIV infection risk in America at one in 78.
“Despite overall progress, this study reveals stark disparities by race, risk group and geography,” the CDC reported. “While gay and bisexual men overall have the highest lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis (one in six), that risk varies considerably based on race and ethnicity.”
Regardless of sexual orientation, Black men have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming infected with HIV; for Black women, it’s one in 48.
“While studies have shown that African Americans do not engage in riskier sexual behavior compared to Americans of other races/ethnicities, Black men overall are almost seven times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes,” the CDC reported. “The disparity among women is even greater: One in 48 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes, compared with 1 in 227 Hispanic women and 1 in 880 white women.“Reasons for this higher lifetime risk include higher prevalence within the community which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter; lack of access to healthcare; poverty, and stigma.”
“Reasons for this higher lifetime risk include higher prevalence within the community which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter; lack of access to healthcare; poverty, and stigma.”
With homosexual behavior so highly stigmatized in black and Hispanic communities, many men keep their sexual preferences secret and therefore are hard to reach for prevention efforts. Many are deeply distrustful of the healthcare system or do not have adequate access to it for a variety of reasons.
Intravenous drug users also have an increased risk of contracting HIV. Women who inject drugs are looking at odds of one in 23; for male injectors it is one in 36.
Geographically, people who live in the south and the northeast are at far greater risk of becoming infected with HIV. D.C. leads the way followed by Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and New York.
Among states with the lowest HIV infection rates: North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Vermont, and Wyoming. For a map showing state-by-state infection odds, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the second page.