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MAR16

CDC Estimate of Lifetime Risk of HIV Shows More Action Needed

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report at the Conference for Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 2016 assessing lifetime risk of being diagnosed with HIV in the United States. The researchers found that the overall lifetime risk of being diagnosed with HIV fell from 1 in 78 during 2004-2005 to 1 in 99 during 2009-2013. While this study indicates that the overall trend is positive for the general population in decreasing new HIV diagnosis, major disparities persist for racial, sexual preference, and geographic subgroups.

CDC researchers used diagnoses and death rates from 2009-2013 to project the lifetime risk of contracting HIV in the United States. The new estimates were compared to findings from an analysis done in 2004-2005, however, this was the first-ever comprehensive national estimate of the lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis for key populations at risk and in every state. For a list of data by state, please see the CDC press release HERE.



The findings of the study continue to show that gay and bisexual men are the most affected by HIV. At current rates, 1 in 6 men who have sex with men (MSM) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. When breaking down this subgroup further, a staggering 1 in 2 Black MSM and 1 in 4 Latino MSM are expected to have HIV in their lifetime. Additionally, the findings show that 1 in 7 Pacific Islander MSM, 1 in 11 White MSM, 1 in 12 Native American MSM, and 1 in 14 Asian MSM are expected to be diagnosed with HIV.

“These estimates are a sobering reminder that gay and bisexual men face an unacceptable high risk for HIV—and of the urgent need for action. If we work to ensure that every American has access to prevention tools we know work, we can avoid outcomes projected in this study” stated Dr. Eugene McCray, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. As staggering as these data are, Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV.AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis reminds us that “…they are not a forgone conclusion, they are a call to action.”

People who inject drugs also continue to have a higher lifetime risk than the general population: 1 in 36 for men and 1 in 23 for women. When compared to heterosexuals who did not report injection drug use (1 in 473 for men and 1 in 241 for women).

On March 7, Dr. Eugene McCray wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to their article covering this study, “HIV’s Toll on Black and Latino Men.” In the letter, he highlighted prevention programs that are serving gay and bisexual men, particularly men of color, that are making a valuable and positive impact in at-risk communities. He explained that there are positive signs that investments in HIV prevention, like PrEP and other CDC High Impact Prevention approaches, are paying off. He states, “after years of steep increases, HIV diagnosis among black gay men have stabilized sing 2010” and added that “infections among black men remain unacceptable high, and we continue to see alarming increases among Latino gay men. Our challenge is to make sure that all those at greatest risk can benefit from recent advances and that prevention efforts reach all populations equally.”

This study reflects the continued and unacceptable impact that HIV has had on disproportionately affected communities, specifically the Black and Latino communities. However, these startling statistics present the need for strengthened policy and advocacy to address the needs of people at risk for HIV. The researchers concluded that “lifetime risk may be a useful tool to more effectively communicate the risk of HIV to the general public” and “can help to highlight the severe disparities.”

AIDS United understands the importance of this study and plans to use the data for strategic grantmaking and capacity building program design and policy and advocacy efforts to ramp up the targeting of HIV prevention resources to MSM of color. Community-wide advocacy is especially important because data for more recent years show that HIV prevention efforts are reducing HIV transmission among black MSM. The findings on the lifetime risk of HIV infection should indeed be a call to action to strengthen and expand targeted programs that are working.



Posted By: AIDS United Policy Department - Wednesday, March 16, 2016



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