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Surge in New HIV Infections Among Young Black Gay Men Troubling: CDC
Date:8/4/2011

ll number of new cases were highest among gay and bisexual white men at 11,400, followed by black gay and bisexual men at 10,800, with rates higher among young men (ages 13-29). However, since blacks make up a much smaller percentage of the population than whites, the number of new infections in that group is especially disconcerting.

Two other groups hit hard were Hispanic gay and bisexual men (among whom there were 6,000 new cases) and black women, with 5,400 new cases, the researchers said.

Still, only young black gay and bisexual men charted a significant rise in new infections over time. In this group, new cases jumped by 48 percent -- from 4,400 in 2006 to 6,500 in 2009. That means that even though blacks represent just 14 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 44 percent of new HIV cases in 2009, the CDC said.

In fact, the rate of new HIV infections among blacks was almost eight times higher than among whites. Among black men, the rate of new HIV infections was more than six times higher than among white men, and among women the HIV infection rate was 15 times greater than among white women, the researchers reported.

The researchers can only speculate as to the reasons for the trend. They theorized that more black gay and bisexual men may not be aware they are infected, or there might be a stronger stigma within the black community attached to being gay or having HIV. Stigma can prevent men from seeking out HIV-prevention services.

In addition, blacks may have more limited access to health care and HIV testing and treatment, the researchers said.

Finally, since HIV is endemic in the black community, gay and bisexual men may simply be more likely to be exposed to the virus. At the same time, the CDC team said, some blacks may underestimate the extent of their risk.

Hispanics also shouldered a disproportionate burden of HIV in America. Even though they represent 16 percent of the U.S. population, Hispan
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