New York: Gay HIV Rates Buck City Decline
March 2, 2007
In New York City, men who have sex with men (MSM) are "the only group where we are seeing [HIV infections] stabilize and not go down," Dr. Lucia V. Torian, associate director for science with the city health department, said of new HIV data. The department uses detuned assays, allowing it to distinguish older HIV infections from newer ones -- those acquired within 170 days of the blood draw.
Among 3,464 HIV-positive blood samples collected at city clinics between June 1, 2000, to December 31, 2004, and tested using the detuned assay, the annual incidence rate for MSM declined from 3.79 percent in the second half of 2000 to 2.84 percent in the second half of 2004. The rate for the entire period was 3.02 percent for MSM.
As incidence rates are cumulative, extrapolating that rate would mean 15 percent of city MSM would be HIV-infected at the end of five years.
In contrast, annual incidence for all men in the city was 0.72 percent in the second half of 2000 to 0.44 percent in the second half of 2004. Among heterosexuals, incidence went from 0.29 percent to 0.08 percent, among women from 0.32 percent to 0.06 percent, and among intravenous drug users from 2.54 percent to 1.04 percent. All these declining incidence rates were statistically significant; the decline among MSM was not.
"What we're seeing in New York City is a gay epidemic, and I hope the city acts on this and redoubles its efforts to address the epidemic among gay men," said Jay Laudato, executive director of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. "I hope they advocate with the federal government, which has refused to do anything about the spread of HIV among gay men."
Gay City News (New York)
03.01.2007; Duncan Osborne