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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black Americans With HIV Are Still Less Likely to Get Treatment -- But Why?


While HIV diagnoses have dropped significantly over the past 10 years in the United States, it's not enough, says the U.S. Centers For Disease Control. Why? Because, compared to whites and Hispanics, blacks are far less likely to receive ongoing care, and consistent care is critical in order to prevent new infections as well as make it possible for HIV patients to live longer, healthier lives.

HIV diagnoses decrease significantly, but...

Between 2005 to 2014, annual HIV diagnoses dropped 19 percent in the United States. Among black women, diagnoses dropped 42 percent. But the black population represented almost half of all HIV diagnoses in 2014. Why? Black Americans are often not aware they are infected and they are not being treated. Early diagnosis and ongoing medical treatment are necessary to prevent the spread of infection.

Blacks not getting treatment

To compare, about 50 percent of whites and Hispanics with the HIV virus had continuous care from 2011 to 2013, while only 38 percent of black HIV patients received regular, ongoing treatment. Among the black population, black women did better with 44 percent getting regular care, but only 35 percent of black men were reported to receive regular and ongoing treatment.

More effort is needed, says the CDC, to target blacks and other high-risk groups. Strategies are needed that will provide them with continuous medical care. Closing the current gap in care will mean that many more blacks will benefit by early diagnosis and regular medical care that will enable them to live longer and healthier lives.

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