Disparities Highlight New Estimates of HIV Incidence in the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- August 3, 2011 -- Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new HIV incidence estimates that show a visible degree of stability in the annual number of new cases of HIV infection in the United States from 2006 to 2009. AIDS United finds it greatly disturbing, however, that the number of new HIV infections remains at an unacceptably high level. It is also appalling that in the 30th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we continue to see people of color, especially African Americans, bearing a disproportionate number of new HIV infections.

The most alarming number is the increase by 48% from 2006 to 2009 of estimated new HIV infections among young black men who have sex with men (MSM), with a statistically significant estimated annual increase of 12.2%. These numbers show we as a nation are not getting the right prevention messages to young black MSMs. The disproportionate incidence of HIV infection among black women is also an outrage. The new estimated incidence data underscores the importance of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which was released one year ago, and its goal of reducing health-related disparities. More funding and targeted focus must be placed on HIV prevention as it relates to populations that are disproportionately affected. Disparities in health outcomes must be reduced.

Much attention  has been focused over the past few days on reducing spending in order to address a manufactured fiscal crisis. In fact, we need resources that address the reality and necessity of preventing, treating, and researching this deadly disease. “We need an immediate, sizable investment and a sustainable plan to address HIV health disparities, on which the new HIV incidence estimate shines a bright spotlight,” said Ronald Johnson, AIDS United’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. AIDS United’s Board, staff, and partner organizations commit to expanding our efforts to educate Congress, the Administration and the country on the importance of reducing HIV-related health disparities. We have seen 30 years of disturbing and unacceptable reports. We now need to see action to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.