Half of HIV Diagnoses in Blacks/African-Americans

Black males, females diagnosed at eight and 19 times the rate of white males, females

THURSDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks/African-Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV since early in the epidemic, and striking disparities have persisted in the last decade, according to research published in the Feb. 4 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Benjamin T. Laffoon, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues compiled data from the National HIV Surveillance System to estimate numbers, rates, and percentages of HIV diagnosis in blacks/African-Americans between 2005 and 2008.

The researchers found blacks/African-Americans to be disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 50.3 percent of HIV diagnoses in the 37 U.S. states with mature HIV surveillance systems during that time despite comprising only 13.6 percent of the U.S. population. In 2008, black/African-American males and females were diagnosed with HIV at eight and 19 times the rates for white males and females, respectively, and two and four times the rates for Hispanic/Latino males and females, respectively. And each year from 2005 to 2008, the number of HIV diagnoses made in black/African American males increased. According to a related report in the same issue of MMWR, from 2000 to 2008 in Milwaukee County, Wis., there was a 144 percent increase in HIV diagnoses in black men who have sex with men, and the increase could only partly be attributed to intensified testing.

"In 2008, among males and females of all racial/ethnic populations, black males had the highest HIV diagnosis rate (131.9 per 100,000). Trend analyses for 2005 to 2008 indicated that rates of HIV diagnoses increased among black/African-American males. Trends in other race/ethnicity and sex groups were relatively stable," Laffoon and colleagues write.

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