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HIV Rates in U.S. Black Women Much Higher Than Thought

March 9, 2012

A study mostly involving black women in six US areas hard-hit by HIV/AIDS -- Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, Newark, N.J., Harlem (New York City), and Wake County, N.C. -- found HIV incidence rates similar to those seen in sub-Saharan Africa.

Data from the Women's HIV Seroincidence Study (ISIS) found a 0.24 percent HIV incidence rate in the group of almost 2,100 women, 88 percent of whom were black. That rate is fivefold higher than the government's estimated rate for black women overall. In addition, 1.5 percent learned they were HIV-positive only when they enrolled in the study. The new findings were presented in Seattle at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death among US black women.

"We have known that black women in the US are disproportionately impacted by HIV, however, the magnitude of this disparity in areas hardest hit by the HIV epidemic underscores the gravity of the problem," said study leader Dr. Sally Hodder of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School.

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Excerpted from:
Los Angeles Times
03.08.2012; Shari Roan

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