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Gay Sex Feeds HIV Rise in Hispanic Men

October 15, 2010

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, an opportunity to raise awareness of the disproportionate impact of HIV on the US Hispanic/Latino population. The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with HIV among Hispanic/Latinos is one in 36 for males and one in 106 for females, according to a new CDC report based on data from 37 states and Puerto Rico.

"CDC data show a fairly stable HIV epidemic among Latinos for more than a decade," said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "However, the burden of HIV among Latinos is great. Latinos represent approximately 16 percent of the US population, and the latest CDC estimates show that Latinos account for approximately 17 percent of new infections and 18 percent of people living with HIV."

In 2006, male-to-male sexual contact was associated with an estimated 55 percent of new HIV infections among all Hispanics. Among Hispanic males, male-to-male contact was associated with an estimated 72 percent of new infections. For Hispanic females, high-risk heterosexual contact was associated with 83 percent of new infections.

In 2008, 46 percent of HIV-infected Hispanic men who have sex with men did not know they were infected, compared with 26 percent of white MSM, according to CDC.

Factors that place Latinos high risk include lack of awareness about the risks of HIV infection, cultural and socioeconomic factors such as poverty and language barriers, and concerns about immigration status, federal health officials said. Other barriers include fear of stigma and discrimination, particularly among gay and bisexual men and people with HIV.

The full report, "Estimated Lifetime Risk for Diagnosis of HIV Infection Among Hispanics/Latinos - 37 States and Puerto Rico, 2007," was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2010;59(40):1297-1301). For more information, visit

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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. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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