HIV Rates Fall for Black Females

HIV among black females in the United States fell for just the first time since numbers started being reported by health officials in the U.S. of new cases since 2006, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

On Friday, the CDC released a report that said new infections of HIV amongst black women dropped by 21% in 2010, as compared to 2008. The total amount of new infections with the AIDS virus remained level at 50,000 new diagnoses per year over the past 10 years. Infections amongst bisexual and gay men were up 22% during that same period between 2008 and 2010.

While the majority of new infections of HIV in women are made up of blacks, who account for over 64% of all new female diagnoses, the two-year drop is quite encouraging, said the CDC.

The increase in the number of new infections amongst bisexual and gay men was quite troubling, the CDC report said. The report said that young men who are black and have sex with other males are the most at risk.

Studies have shown that only individual risk behavior by itself cannot account for the disproportionate HIV burden among young bisexual and gay men, said the report. The CDC report said other factors were likely involved.

Those particular factors include homophobia and stigma, which prevents some men from looking for health services, others with undiagnosed infections and high STD rates, which make it easier for the transmission of HIV, said the report.

Certain cells in blood are damaged by HIV that helps the immune system fight off disease. The HIV infection is able to lie asymptomatic for many years. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 1.2 million people are HIV-positive. Of that total, close to 25% do not know they are infected.


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