Half of all gay and bisexual black men in the US will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, according to a new study by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC researchers used diagnoses and death rates from 2009-2013 to project the lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis by sex, race and ethnicity, state and HIV risk group.
Gay and bisexual men continue to be most affected by the HIV epidemic.
At current rates, one in six men who have sex with men (MSM) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, making them 79 times more likely than straight men to be diagnosed.
However, that risk varies considerably based on race and ethnicity.
One in two African American MSM and one in four Hispanic MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, compared with one in 11 white MSM.
‘As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,’ said Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention.
‘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 US, but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don’t scale up efforts now.’
The study noted that African Americans do not engage in riskier sexual behavior compared to Americans of other races/ethnicities. Reasons for this higher lifetime risk include higher prevalence within the community, which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter; lack of access to healthcare; poverty; and stigma.
Overall, the likelihood that an American will be diagnosed with HIV at any point during his or her life is now 1 in 99, an improvement from a previous study using 2004-2005 data that reported lifetime risk at 1 in 78.