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Seen progress, but inequalities continue

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY 1 December 2021 (HealthDay News) – Some progress has been made in the US fight against HIV, with new infections falling among white gay and bisexual men over the past decade. But their black and Spanish counterparts have not seen that progress, health officials say.

The continuing inequalities appear in a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 2010 to 2019, the number of new HIV infections among white gay / bisexual men dropped from 7,500 to 5,100, but remained about the same among black gay / bisexual men (9,000 to 8,900) and increased among Hispanic gay / bisexual men. bisexual men (from 6,800 to 7,900), researchers found.

“Throughout my career, I have seen a transformation for those who are at risk for HIV,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an agency news release.

“We have the scientific tools to end the HIV epidemic,” Walensky added. “To achieve this goal, however, we must recognize that inequalities in access to care still exist and are an injustice. We must address and prove the root causes of these ongoing inequalities. HIV prevention and treatment intervention available to all. ”

Black and Hispanic gay / bisexual men were less likely to have a HIV diagnosis, virally suppressed or using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV, compared to white gay / bisexual men, according to the CDC Vital signs report.

For example, in 2019, researchers found that approximately 83% of black and 80% of Spanish gay / bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV, compared to 90% of white men. About two-thirds of black or Hispanic gay / bisexual men diagnosed with HIV are virally oppressed, compared with three-quarters of white gay / bisexual men.

Unequal achievement of HIV prevention and treatment, higher levels of HIV in some communities, and systemic inequalities are some of the reasons for these racial inequalities, according to the report. It was released on Wednesday along with World Aids Day.

HIV-related stigma may also play a role. A nationally representative survey of people diagnosed with HIV found that black and Hispanic gay / bisexual men were more likely than white gay / bisexual men to report experiencing HIV-related stigma.

The CDC is working with partners through a federal initiative called Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States to reduce HIV infections by 90% by 2030.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on HIV risks and prevention.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, News Release, Nov. 30 2021

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