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IDSA: Gender Linked to Late HIV Diagnosis in Minorities

Heterosexual African-American males twice as likely to have low CD4+ counts as females

MONDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Among heterosexual minorities in the South with HIV, gender is the strongest factor associated with late diagnosis, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Philadelphia.

Yvonne L. Carter, M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues studied 206 African-American patients aged 18 to 61 years (78 men and 128 women) who were diagnosed with HIV between 1997 and 2000 and had denied male same-sex activity or injection drug use.

At the time of diagnosis, the researchers found that 31 percent of subjects had a CD4+ cell count of less than 200 cells/µL. After adjusting for several factors, the researchers showed that a low CD4+ cell count was significantly associated with male gender and unemployment. In addition, the investigators found no association between a low CD4+ cell count and socioeconomic status, insurance status, or history of imprisonment.

"In our analysis, gender was the only variable strongly associated with late diagnosis," the authors conclude. "The lack of identifiable risk factors supports the policy of universal testing, particularly among heterosexual minorities in the South."

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