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Blacks Make up More Than Half of New HIV Diagnoses

They also have highest death rate among those with HIV, despite declining rate

Blacks have higher rates of new HIV diagnoses, more than any other group of Americans, and though their death rate from the disease is declining, it is still more than the rate for any other racial or ethnic group. That’s what two new federal government studies have found, highlighting a need to double down on efforts to provide black folks with better HIV prevention, diagnosis and care.

The first study analyzed data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded HIV testing in 61 regions across the country in 2013. Blacks made up 45 percent of people tested for HIV, the largest proportion of any racial group (a bright spot in these reports). But blacks also accounted for nearly 55 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. And among blacks newly diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS, gay men accounted for the lion’s share: about 37 percent.

The second study found deaths among blacks with HIV fell 28 percent from 2008 to 2012, while the overall decline in the death rate for people with HIV dropped 22 percent. Hispanics with HIV saw a 25 percent decline in deaths, compared to a 13 percent drop among whites with HIV. Despite having the largest decline, the death rate for blacks with HIV in 2012 was still 13 percent higher than the rate for whites and 47 percent higher than the rate for Hispanics.

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The studies’ authors noted in a news release that blacks comprise 12 percent of the United States population, but are more than one-third of those with HIV. And, while there has been progress in HIV testing, 15 percent of blacks with HIV don’t know they have the infection, and many who have been diagnosed do not receive care and treatment. The researchers found only about 54 percent of newly diagnosed blacks were referred to HIV prevention services.

Photo: Wavebreakmedia/Depositphotos

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