Sharp rise in HIV diagnoses among black and Latino gay youth

© Navesh Chitrakar
The number of HIV diagnoses among gay black and Latino youth in the US has shot up by 87 percent since 2005, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

This is in stark contrast with the overall rate of HIV diagnoses in the country, which has fallen 19 percent from 2005 to 2014.

The figures were published in a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the title ‘HIV Prevention in the United States: New Opportunities, New Expectations’.

The report found that the steepest increases in HIV diagnoses were in black and Latino youth between the ages of 13 and 24.

Men who have sex with men account for 67 percent of HIV-positive Americans. For black men in this group, the diagnoses rose 22 percent; for Latino men, the figure has increased by almost a quarter.

The increase is more likely to be the result of a rise in infections and not improved testing, according to the CDC.

The news is better, however, for white heterosexuals – among heterosexuals, new HIV diagnoses fell by 35 percent. Among people who inject drugs, there was a 63 percent fall and among women, 40 percent.

Death rates among people living with HIV in some Southern states are three times higher than those living in other parts of the country, according to the report.

The disparity in death rates across the country ranged from 7.9 deaths per 1,000 HIV diagnosed in Vermont to a high of 30.8 in Louisiana.

The data from 2012 also showed substantial gaps between Southern states and the rest of the country regarding those with knowledge of their HIV status.

Only five states reached the National Goal of 90 percent awareness – Hawaii, New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Delaware. Seventy percent of the worst-performing states in this area were in the South.

“It is unacceptable that people with HIV living in many Southern states are more likely to die than those living in other parts of the country," the Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Jonathan Mermin, said in a press release.

“Some states are making great strides toward getting people with HIV diagnosed and into care, but every state must do this if we are to reach our national goals for prevention and care."

The government targets in the fight against AIDS for 2020 include reducing new diagnoses by at least 25 percent, boosting the percentage of HIV-positive people receiving medical care to 90 percent, and increasing the percentage of those with suppressed viral loads to 80 percent.