In releasing new HIV incidence data on Wednesday, CDC stated that the "alarming increase among young black gay and bisexual men requires urgent action." The statistics show that blacks represent just 14 percent of the US population but accounted for 44 percent of new HIV infections in 2009. Among young black men who have sex with men, new HIV infections rose by 48 percent from 2006 to 2009.
"That is an outrage," said Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "That number is completely unacceptable. Especially now when the prevention toolbox is literally exploding with new options."
The release of the data came one year after the publication of the Obama administration's National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
"We now have the tools that could dramatically drive down new infections," Wilson said. "We have a roadmap to victory. We understand that people must be tested and know their status. We understand that linking 'poz' people to care right away saves lives. And we know that providing antiretrovirals to healthy people can also save lives.
"They're calling this 'alarming,' but it's clearly past that point," Wilson said. "Our house is on fire."
Jonathan Mermin, MD, director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said, "We are deeply concerned by the alarming rise in new HIV infections in young, black gay and bisexual men and the continued impact of HIV among young gay and bisexual men of all races. We cannot allow the health of a new generation of gay men to be lost to a preventable disease.
"It's time to renew the focus on HIV among gay men and confront the homophobia and stigma that all too often accompany this disease," Mermin said.