CDC says focus on HIV/AIDS prevention needs to be increased.
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta is projecting that half of all gay and bisexual black men in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in their lifetimes, according to a Reuters news story.
The report says black men who have sex with other men are 250 times as likely to be diagnosed with the disease than heterosexual men in America. The rates are lower for Latino gay and bisexuals, but still one of every four in that demographic will be diagnosed with the virus. Gay and bisexual white men are at a nine percent risk of contracting HIV.
Somewhat surprisingly, the rate for blacks in the US is about the same as in under-developed nations, such as Mauritania, where 44 percent of gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV in 2014, and in Senegal, where the infection rate was 42 percent, according to the United Nations program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
CDC officials say the projections are a reminder that we need to increase awareness and focus on HIV and AIDS prevention. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention says hundreds of thousands of people with be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes if the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus are not increased immediately.
The most current data from UNAIDS shows over 1.2 million people living in the US have been diagnosed with HIV, and worldwide, the number reaches to about 36.9 million. The good news is that infections have dropped since 2004, when AIDS-related deaths reached their peak.
Mermin says as alarming as these statistics are, this is not a foregone conclusion, but a call to action. Mermin adds “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.”