Report Shows African-American Community Disparity In HIV Diagnoses

Report Shows African-American Community Disparity In HIV Diagnoses

A new HIV/AIDS epidemic paper shows that African-Americans, despite the recent HIV diagnoses drop, are still far more likely to be told they have HIV than white Americans.

University of Connecticut researcher Cato T. Laurencin published the paper in Springer’s Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. He and his team published another paper 10 years ago that highlighted the high HIV diagnoses numbers within the African-American community. The follow-up looks at survey data from the 2016 HIV Surveillance Report and 2010 U.S. Census.

According to the paper, the trend noted 10 years ago has continued and even, in some areas, gotten worse. In 2016 of both male and female populations, blacks were 8.4 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV compared to 2005 when it was 7.9 times more likely. The number of black men with HIV was 9,969 in 2005. That number jumped to 12,890 in 2016 – a 29 percent increase.

The most common HIV transmission came from black men-to-men sexual contact with the number of men sleeping with men and diagnosed with HIV rising from 4,020 to 10,233 (2005 to 2016). That’s a 154 percent increase.

Laurencin said if this trend goes on, it would mean one in two black men who have sex with other men will get HIV.

The report suggests that African-American women with HIV through heterosexual contact rose from 2,392 in 2005 to 4,189 in 2016 – a 75 percent increase. It also showed that 76 percent of heterosexual men were diagnosed with HIV for the same timeframe.

Laurencin said the report shows that more must be done with the African-American community to lower the representation in every transmission category.

The team came up with a five-fold plan geared toward community advocates and healthcare practitioners. The plan involves working to remove unconscious biases and prejudices when treating a patient, using new techniques and technology to prevent or stop HIV/AIDS. The team also said they wanted to work on decreasing the secondary issues – poverty, incarceration rates, STDs, etc. – anything that could increase the chance for a person to contract the AIDS virus.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

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