The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released their first study that compares the lifetime risk of HIV infection among gay and bisexual men by race and ethnicity.
While one in six gay men will contract the virus that causes AIDS—making MSM (men who have sex with men) 79 times more at risk than heterosexual men—the numbers vary widely by race.
At current rates, one in two black MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, compared to one in four Hispanic MSM and one in 11 white MSM.
Studies have shown that African-Americans don't engage in riskier sexual behavior compared to Americans of other backgrounds, but black men are almost seven times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV; and black women are over 18 times more at risk for HIV infection than white women.
Factors that contribute to this disparity include higher prevalence within the community leading to an increased risk of infection, lack of access to healthcare, poverty, and stigma.
“These estimates are a sobering reminder that gay and bisexual men face an unacceptably high risk for HIV—and of the urgent need for action,” said Dr. Eugene McCray, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “If we work to ensure that every American has access to the prevention tools we know work, we can avoid the outcomes projected in this study.”
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