HRC Blog

CDC Releases Updated Estimates on the Incidence of HIV

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated estimates on the incidence of HIV in the United States for the years 2006-2009. On the positive side, these latest numbers show new infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) remain relatively stable, with just over half of new infections occurring in this population. Increased prevention and outreach efforts are likely responsible for this leveling of infection rates. For each of the four years, white MSM had the largest number of new HIV infections, followed by black MSM, Hispanic/Latino MSM and black women were the next most affected groups.

However, these new numbers reflect the disturbing trend that young gay men, particularly those who are black/African American MSM, are increasingly at greatest risk of contracting HIV.  During the 4 year timeframe, incidence of HIV among black/African MSM aged 13-29 increased 48%, with the annual rate of increase among this group estimated at 12%. The CDC noted the following factors as contributing to the alarming trend: lack of awareness of HIV status; stigma of HIV and of being gay, both of which can deter individuals from seeking preventive services; as well as limited access to healthcare, HIV testing and treatment.

The Administration’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which is now in the implementation phase, is directing new, targeted prevention efforts to high risk populations including gay men and communities of color. It is also focusing resources in cities which have the highest incidence of HIV. This emphasis is critically important at a time when federal resources may soon be further curtailed.

When Congress returns from the August recess, it will have to complete work on a number of the FY2012 appropriations bills. Among them is the Labor-HHS spending bill which includes funding for HIV/AIDS related programs. While the CDC indicates that it is working to maximize and stretch its prevention dollars, they also have made clear that they require more resources to identify “urgently needed new approaches to HIV prevention.” HRC has been advocating for increased funding for the NHAS, and HIV prevention programs at the CDC. Having read this new report, we’ll press even harder for those funds in September.

Additional information on the new HIV incidence estimates can be found online at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/incidence.htm

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