For the first time, the rate of new HIV infections among African-American women declined 21 percent between 2008 and 2010, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released Wednesday. “We are encouraged to see some declines among African-American women,” says Joseph Prejean, chief of the Behavioral and Clinical Surveillance Branch in the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “They’ve been one of the most severely affected populations. We’re cautiously optimistic that this could be part of a longer-term trend.”
While this good news is a step in the right direction, black women still account for nearly two-thirds of new infections among American women, according to the CDC report.
Other minorities also are disproportionately affected. Blacks represent just 14 percent of the population, yet they account for 44 percent of new HIV infections. Hispanics are 16 percent of the population, but account for 21 percent of new infections.
The overall number of new infections among Americans has remained stable at about 50,000 per year over the last decade. The CDC says this indicates that prevention programs, testing and treatment are having an impact, but rates of new HIV infections are still too high.