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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Government Says This Percentage of Gay Black Men Likely to Get HIV in their Lifetime

Gay African American man

The risk of HIV in the United States has dropped from one in 78 about 10 years ago to one in 99 over a lifetime, according to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control. But not everyone benefits from these statistics. Government statistics show that about 50% of gay and bisexual black men in the United States will be diagnosed with the AIDS-causing virus in their lifetime.

Shocking comparison

To get a better idea of how alarming this statistic is, compare it to the numbers reported by the CDC for another at-risk group, gay and bisexual Hispanic males. One in four have a chance of contracting HIV. This is only half as much as the numbers predicted for gay black men. For gay or bisexual white males, the number is one in 11. So, there is no question the risk percentage among gay black men is shockingly high.

The real problem

According to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, the real problem is lack of access to health care treatment for minorities, who are hit the hardest with HIV risk. As he explains the situation, "The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don't scale up efforts now."

Dr. Mermin and others believe that the HIV statistics predicted for gay black men can be turned around. If action is taken to make prevention and care more accessible to blacks and other at-risk minorities, the future outlook can be much brighter.

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