HIV infection rates among black gay men 50% higher than that of white counterparts, study finds

HIV, AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Virus, Sexual Issues

(CBS/AP) New research shows that black gay men are becoming infected with HIV at higher rates than their white counterparts, sparking urgent calls to address this growing part of the U.S. AIDS epidemic.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health tracked black gay and bisexual men in six cities - Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C - and found the rate of new infections is 2.8 percent a year. That's 50 percent higher than is seen in white men who have sex with men (MSM).

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Worse, among those 30 and younger, nearly 6 percent a year were becoming infected. The authors said those rates rival some parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

The study didn't measure national prevalence of HIV in this population, but the government has long called HIV among young black gay men alarming.

The findings were presented July 23 at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.

The "study findings are a sobering wake-up call," study author Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, co-principal Investigator for the HIV Prevention Trials Network, said in a written statement. "These results, and others to be garnered from further analysis of the study, highlight the enormity of the challenges ahead and offer important insights into how to design research studies and programs for prevention of HIV among black MSM."