HIV Rates Rising Among Poor, Minorities
Rising HIV rates among the poor and minorities have experts concerned, HealthDay News reports.
According to new data released Tuesday at the National HIV Prevention Conference by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 19 percent of gay and bisexual men, 9 percent of intravenous drug users and 2 percent of low-income heterosexuals are infected with HIV, compared to an overall HIV infection rate in the United States of only 0.47 percent.
Young black men are being hit the hardest by HIV, the data shows. Infection rates have increased sharply among black gay and bisexual men despite the overall number of new cases in the U.S. holding steady at 50,000, Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS at the CDC, told HealthDay.
"The most concerning finding was that new HIV infections among black gay and bisexual men aged 18-to-29 increased 50 percent between 2006 and 2009," Fenton said at a press briefing on Monday. "That group was the only group in the U.S. to experience significant increases during that time."
Even more startling is that fact that the data showed that a big proportion of the individuals in the high-risk groups also reported engaging in risky behavior over the past year, such as having unprotected sex and sharing needles. Additionally, nearly half of the people in each of the high-risk groups were unaware that they were infected with the virus.