Black MSM Twice As Likely As White MSM To Be Living With HIV

Armen Hareyan's picture

Black men who have sex with men in the U.S. are twice as likely aswhite MSM to be living with HIV, federal researchers announced onMonday at a national HIV prevention conference, the Baltimore Sun reports. Kevin Fenton -- director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention-- said that MSM "account for almost half of all estimated to be livingwith HIV" in the U.S. and that black MSM are the "most heavilyimpacted." Researchers at the conference said they are somewhat unclearabout why disparity exists, the Sun reports. A recentstudy found little differences in the rates of unprotected sex amongblack and white MSM. However, the practice was common among bothgroups, according to the Sun (Bor, Baltimore Sun, 12/4).


Arecent study conducted by CDC examined data from 53 studies conductedfrom 1980 to 2006. The studies compared the safer sex practices ofblack and white MSM. "Across all studies, there were no overalldifferences (by race) in reported unprotected receptive sex or anyunprotected anal intercourse," Gregorio Millet, a behavioral scientistat CDC, said, adding that "among young MSM -- those ages 15 to 29 --African-Americans were one-third less likely than whites to report inengaging in unprotected anal intercourse." Blacks in Millet's studyalso were less likely to use recreational drugs, such asmethamphetamine or cocaine, compared with whites, HealthDay News/Forbes reports (HealthDay News/Forbes, 12/3).

According to the Sun,one recent study suggests that the increased risk of HIV among blackMSM is because they are more likely to be living with another sexuallytransmitted infection -- which makes them more likely to contract ortransmit HIV. Other studies found that blacks were less likely to betaking antiretroviral drugs, which can lower the concentration of HIVin the bloodstream and the chance of transmitting the virus to others(Baltimore Sun, 12/4).

According to theresearchers, all of the new statistics confirm that much more must bedone. "This shows that prevention messages have to be continuallyrefreshed, and responsive to those who are younger," Kenneth Mayer,medical research director at Fenway Community Health, said (HealthDay News/Forbes, 12/3).

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