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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Too Many Blacks Getting HIV; CDC Says 60% of New HIV Infections Are Among African Americans

According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV infects 50,000 people each year. Twenty-six percent, roughly one in four, occur among the young, age 13-24. Eighty percent in this group are males. Overall, 60 percent of new HIV infections each year are among African-Americans, compared to 20 percent among whites and 20 percent among Hispanics.

The risk for African-American youth is alarmingly high. One reason is that HIV among African-Americans is high. In 2010, 44 percent of new infections were among African-Americans. This is alarming considering the fact that African-Americans represent only 12 to 14 percent of the population in the U.S, and by 2010, 250,000 African American men have died from AIDS. 

Two areas that can decrease HIV risk among youth is life style and early testing. About 60 percent of young people infected with HIV are not aware that they have it. As a result, they don't get tested or receive needed treatment and will likely continue to pass the disease on to others. In addition, youth often engage is risky behavior, often fueled by drugs and alcohol, that increases their chances of getting AIDS.

The number of HIV cases has slowly decreased since 2007, but more can be done. Early education for youth is critical. Particularly for African-American youth, the education process includes getting past any stigma that would prevent them from seeking testing and further treatment. Education of youth will also help prevent late diagnosis of HIV infection which can lead to further spread of HIV and even death. In addition, parents of youth need to know that HIV screening without a co-pay is now covered under Obamacare. This means more people can now afford to get tested for HIV and also get needed treatment.

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