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U.S. News

HIV Rates Are High for Gay, Bisexual Black Men

July 25, 2012

Young black gay and bisexual men under age 30 are acquiring HIV at a rate of 5.9 percent annually, three times the rate for white men who have sex with men, according to a US study presented Monday at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington. The HIV infection rate for black MSM over age 18 was 1.5 times that of their white MSM peers. The study enrolled 1,533 black MSM participants and was conducted from 2009 to 2011.

Of the 88.8 percent who reported being HIV-negative or of unknown HIV status, 12 percent tested HIV-positive at the study's beginning. The study sites were Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Washington.

"People are much more likely to practice safer sex if they know that they're infected," said Dr. Kenneth Mayer, a study leader with the Fenway Institute in Boston. "So if you have a lot of people who are assuming they're not infected or unwilling to deal with it, these are people who are much more likely to transmit HIV to their partners."

During the study, participants acquired HIV at a rate of 2.8 percent per year, while the younger MSM got infected at a rate of 5.9 percent annually. People with HIV had higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and newly diagnosed MSM were six to seven times more likely to have multiple untreated STDs, which can increase the risk of transmitting and acquiring HIV.

"The rates of infection that we've documented in this study are higher than the rates of many countries in Africa," Mayer said. "What emerges is a picture of people who are alienated from the health care system."

A continuing focus is increasing testing and treatment among more black MSM and addressing underlying socioeconomic issues that may put these men at risk, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

Back to other news for July 2012

Adapted from:
Boston Globe
07.24.2012; Helen Shen

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
New Study Finds Greatly Elevated HIV Infection Rates Among Young Black Gay and Bisexual Men in the U.S.
AIDS 2012 Research & Clinical Coverage

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Jim (New York, NY) Wed., Sep. 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm UTC
Come on! "alienated by the healthcare system"?!! Really? That's the reason?!! Black people have the same Internet we all have, same resources are available to all. Truth is, vast majority of black men I've met hate condoms and want bareback sex. I don't blame them, condoms suck!
Also a bi black guy is not going to take meds when he's living with his gf or wife, how can he hide that? In a culture that tends to be very homophobic, how are you going to the pharmacy to pick up meds every month without being noticed?
There's a lot of reasons but alienated from healthcare system is not one. It just sounds good and doesn't put blame on anyone. Just fluff!! Get real!!!
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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.