Lifestyle & Belief

HIV infections drop among black women, rise in gay men


A new CDC report says HIV infections declined in black women but rose in gay men.


Chris Hondros

The CDC reported today that HIV infections among black women had declined for the first time since 2006.

The report said despite the decline in black women, new infections in the US stayed about the same at 50,000 cases per year.

Bloomberg reported that infections among black women dropped 21 percent in 2010 compared with two years earlier.

However, infections among gay and bisexual men increased 22 percent during that period.

African Americans make up the majority of new HIV cases in the US with black females accounting for 64 percent.

Researchers are optimistic about the trend in black women.

"The data reflect not only our efforts, but also that the community is clearly taking the message and taking steps they need to avoid to avoid HIV … We're seeing black women taking control." said CDC Director Kevin Fenton, according to The Root.

"We have to ensure that our efforts build upon this trend and we don’t take our foot off the accelerator." 

Researchers said the scourge in gay men is partly occurring because some underestimate the personal and financial risk given the success of new treatments.

"We do realize that many men who have sex with men do probably underestimate their personal risk and believe that treatment advances minimize the health threat," said Joseph Prejean, head of the Behavioral and Clinical Surveillance Branch at the CDC's HIV/AIDS Prevention division, reported Reuters.

He warned that the disease costs $400,000 to treat over a lifetime due to expensive medications.

It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the US are infected with HIV.

Bloomberg reported that between 20 and 25 percent of people are unaware of their status, leading officials to recommend recently more screening for young people.