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How to Close the Race Gap in HIV?

August 19, 2011

How to Close the Race Gap in HIV?

HIV infection rates have stabilized in much of the American population -- an achievement that public health officials say points to the effectiveness of various long efforts, including HIV education in schools, which began in New York in 1987. But data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that rates are increasing sharply in one subgroup: young gay black men.

"Black teenage boys who realize they are attracted to men are often too poor to move to gay-friendly cities like San Francisco or New York," wrote New York Times reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. This could lead many to hide their sexuality and engage in furtive, perhaps riskier sex. "They often lack health insurance, meaning they do not get checkups where a doctor might suggest testing," the article adds. "And while new surveys find that they use condoms at about the same rates as young gay white and Hispanic men, sex tends to stay within racial groups and more older black gay and bisexual men are infected."

How could public health officials close the race gap in HIV infection rates?

Reprinted with the permission of the New York Times.

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