Thu04172014

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Some view CDC data as ‘house on fire’

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CDC data shows that while the annual number of new HIV infections in the U.S. remained relatively stable overall between 2006 and 2009, sharp increases were seen among young black gay and bisexual men.  The Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday released the first multi-year estimates of the annual number of new HIV infections (HIV incidence) in the United States, which show that African Americans continue to bear the greatest burden of any race or ethnicity, accounting for nearly half of all new HIV infections each year.

The data also show that while the annual number of new HIV infections in the U.S. remained relatively stable overall between 2006 and 2009, sharp increases were seen among young black gay and bisexual men.

“We are deeply concerned by the alarming rise in new HIV infections in young, black gay and bisexual men and the continued impact of HIV among young gay and bisexual men of all races. We cannot allow the health of a new generation of gay men to be lost to a preventable disease,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

“It’s time to renew the focus on HIV among gay men and confront the homophobia and stigma that all too often accompany this disease.”

New HIV cases among young black gay and bisexual men rose an estimated 48 percent between 2006-2009, according to the new data.

”They’re calling this ‘alarming’ but it’s clearly past that point,” said Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “Our house is on fire.”

This is the first time HIV incidence numbers were calculated using a lab test that distinguishes recent infections from existing infections. According to the new estimates, there were 48,600 new HIV infections in the United States in 2006, 56,000 in 2007, 47,800 in 2008 and 48,100 in 2009. In 2009, the largest number of new infections were among white gay and bisexual men (11,400), followed very closely by Black gay/bi men at 10,800. Latino gay/bisexual men (6,000) and Black women (5,400) were also heavily affected.

CDC estimates gay/bi men are only about 2 percent of the population-but account for 61 percent of all new HIV increases. The numbers are more severe for black gay and bisexual men. Blacks are about 12 percent of the population but 44 percent of all HIV infections. Black men are 70 percent of all infections in the African-American community and black gay/bi men are 73 percent of all infections in Black America.

”That is an outrage,” said Wilson. “That number is completely unacceptable. Especially now when the prevention toolbox is literally exploding with new options.”

The new data was released almost one year to the week that the Obama Administration announced its National HIV AIDS Strategy, the nation’s first roadmap to combating the epidemic.

“We now have the tools that could dramatically drive down new infections,” said Wilson. “We have a roadmap to victory. We understand that people must be tested and know their status. We understand that linking ‘poz’ people to care right away saves lives.

“And we know that providing anti-retrovirals to healthy people can also save lives. We understand this-but we need smart solutions, we need targeted resources and we need all hands on deck. The house is on fire.”

Key CDC Findings:

• There were approximately 50,000 annual new HIV infections between 2006 and 2009.

• While blacks represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for nearly half of new infections in 2009 (44 percent, or an estimated 21,200 infections). The HIV infection rate among blacks was nearly 8 times as high as whites and almost 3 times as high as Hispanics.

• Among African Americans, black men are hardest hit, comprising 70% of new infections among African Americans in 2009 – the vast majority was among men who have sex with men (MSM).

• Young, black men who have sex with men (aged 13-29) is the only subpopulation in the U.S. to experience a statistically significant increase from 2006 through 2009, with new HIV infections increasing 48% – from 4,400 in 2006 to 6,500 in 2009.

• Black women are also significantly impacted, accounting for nearly a third (30%) of new infections among blacks and almost 60 percent of all new HIV infections among women overall in 2009.

(This story reflects information from the CDC and The Black AIDS Institute the only national HIV/AIDS think tank in the United States focused exclusively on African-American people.)

 
 


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