Black MSM More Than Twice as Likely as Other MSM to Be HIV-Positive; Social Networks Effective for Testing, Studies Show
June 24, 2005
Black men who have sex with men in the United States are more than twice as likely to be HIV-positive as white and Latino MSM, according to a study published in the June 24 issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Frangiscos Sifakis of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues from CDC's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system tested 1,767 MSM at bars, clubs, organizations and other venues in five cites and found that overall, 25% tested HIV-positive. However, the percentage differed among racial groups, with 46% of black MSM testing HIV-positive, compared with 21% of white men and 17% of Latino men. About 48% of all the men who tested positive were unaware of their status. Of this group, 64% were black, 18% were Latino and 11% were white. Although most men in the study group had been tested for HIV in the past, 58% of the men who were unaware of their HIV-positive status had not undergone testing during the previous year. These men said they avoided HIV testing because they feared learning that they had the virus and were afraid that others would discover their test results. "We know that persons who are aware of their HIV status take measures to seek treatment and reduce risk behaviors, which underscores the importance of annual testing, particularly among African-American MSM," Stephanie Behel of CDC said, adding that informing individuals in advance that they can learn their test results in 20 minutes will encourage testing. "We have to increase our prevention messages to help people understand about the benefits of treatment and that people are living longer and healthier lives even with HIV infection," she said.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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