CDC: Half of Gay Black Men Will Be Diagnosed with HIV

Reggie Batiste, left, program manager with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, administers a free HIV test as part of National HIV Testing Day, Thursday, June 27, 2013, in Atlanta. Health officials say more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but 20 percent of them don't know it. …
AP Photo/David Goldman

One in two gay black men in America will be diagnosed with HIV over the course of their lifetime, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“These estimates are a sobering reminder that gay and bisexual men face an unacceptably high risk for HIV — and of the urgent need for action,” said Dr. Eugene McCray, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “If we work to ensure that every American has access to the prevention tools we know work, we can avoid the outcomes projected in this study.”

The CDC says one in four gay and bisexual Hispanic men and one in every eleven gay and bisexual white men are at risk of contracting the deadly virus HIV, which causes AIDS, over the course of their life.

The number of new cases of black women with HIV has dropped by 40 percent in recent years, but infection rates have seen a sharp increase among young gay men, especially blacks, according to the latest CDC figures. “Blacks account for more new HIV infections, people estimated to be living with HIV disease, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S,” the Kaiser Family Foundation reports.

“As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the CDC said. “The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the US.”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson.


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