CDC Report: Almost 1 in 2 gay black men will contract HIV unless changes are made
According to a recent study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, almost half of gay or bisexual black men will contract HIV in their lifetime.
The next group most likely to be HIV positive are gay hispanics with a 1 in 4 chance.
All though the study put people of color are at the top of the charts as the most at risk groups to contract the disease, There are large disparities between groups, for example: black women have a 1 in 48 chance whereas white women have a 1 in 880.
The report also said that southern states bare the highest majority of HIV cases in alarming amounts compared to other parts of the nation. Virginians have a 1 in 115 chance in contracting disease. The residents of our neighbor, the District of Columbia, have the highest risk with a staggering projection of 1 out of every 13 people.
Reasons for this higher lifetime risk, according to the report, include higher prevalence within minority communities, which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter. A lack of access to healthcare; localized poverty; and the stigma around the illness all play roles as well.
Richmond itself was christened 5th most STI infected (both gonorrhea and chlamydia)county in the US, but it’s pretty high on the HIV/AIDS list as well.
Last year, RVA had 2,040 new cases of HIV alone as reported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The city had the third most number of HIV cases in the state in 2015, just barely trailing behind Fairfax and Norfolk.
Though these results may seem like somewhat of a death sentence, the CDC hopes that these numbers will spark awareness in the highest affected communities.
“As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention in an interview with The Daily Beast.
On their website, the CDC also outlines how they aim to slow the spread of HIV in the hopes that these alarming numbers will drop in the upcoming years. Some of their proposed methods include Antiretroviral therapy for those who have recently contracted the virus to reduce spreading of the disease to future partners, better public access to condoms and sterile syringes and reducing the cost of STI screenings.
“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 U.S.,” said Dr. Mermin, “but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don’t scale up efforts now.”
An interactive graphic around HIV/AIDS in Virginia can be found here.
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