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CDC Analysis: HIV Cases Decline for Black Women, Increase for Gay Men

New report finds stable disease incidence in U.S. since 1990s (Dec. 19)

The latest estimates of new HIV infections (HIV incidence) in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remains a serious health problem, with an estimated 47,500 people becoming newly infected in the U.S. in 2010. A new CDC report includes HIV incidence estimates for 2010 and updates previously published estimates for 2007 through 2009.

The incidence of HIV has remained relatively stable at about 50,000 infections per year since the mid-1990s. According to the new analysis, there were 53,200 infections in 2007; 47,500 in 2008; 45,000 in 2009; and 47,500 in 2010. Certain groups, including African Americans, Latinos, and gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV.

The new analysis also finds two noteworthy trends among heavily affected populations: early signs of an encouraging decrease in new HIV infections among black women (a 21% decrease between 2008 and 2010), and a continuing increase in new infections among young gay and bisexual men (a 22% increase over the same period).

Black women accounted for 13% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2010 and for nearly two-thirds (64%) of all new infections among women. Most black women (87%) were infected through heterosexual sex. While new infections among black women remain high, for the first time this analysis found indications of an encouraging trend. Comparing 2008 to 2010, new HIV infections among black women decreased by 21% — from 7,700 in 2008 to 6,100 in 2010. This decrease contributed to a 21% decline in new infections among women overall during the same period.

While the decline in HIV incidence is encouraging, the new data show that black women continue to be far more affected by HIV than are women of other races/ethnicities. The rate of new HIV infections among black women in 2010 was 20 times that of white women and nearly five times that of Hispanic women (38.1 vs. 1.9 and 8.0 per 100,000, respectively). This indicates an even greater disparity than was shown in the CDC’s previous incidence analysis, in which the HIV infection rate among black women was 15 times that of white women and more than three times that of Hispanic women.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the group most heavily affected by HIV in the U.S. The CDC estimates that MSM represent approximately 4% of the male population in the U.S., but male-to-male sex accounted for more than three-fourths (78%) of new HIV infections among men and for nearly two-thirds (63%) of all new infections in 2010 (29,800). White MSM continue to represent the largest number of new HIV infections among MSM (11,200), followed closely by black MSM (10,600) and Hispanic MSM (6,700).

The number of new infections among the youngest MSM (aged 13 to 24 years) increased by 22% — from 7,200 infections in 2008 to 8,800 in 2010. Young black MSM continue to bear the heaviest burden, accounting for more than half (55%) of new infections among young MSM (4,800). In fact, young black MSM now account for more new infections than any other subgroup by race/ethnicity, age, and sex. There was a 12% increase in HIV incidence among MSM overall — from 26,700 in 2008 to 29,800 in 2010.

Source: CDC; December 19, 2012.

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