According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of black men and at least a quarter of Hispanic gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, according to a new study.
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Even though they estimate that the number of people who have been diagnosed with HIV in the United States is on the downturn, there are people who still run the risk of contracting the disease.
Gay men are at a very risk of being diagnosed with HIV, especially those who are black and those who live in the south. The CDC said that 1 in 4 gay men could benefit from using pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, medications that can protect them from HIV based on their higher risk of exposure.
"These estimates are a sobering reminder that gay and bisexual men face an unacceptably high risk for HIV -- and of the urgent need for action," Dr. Eugene McCray, director of CDC's Division of HIV and AIDS Prevention, said in a press release. "If we work to ensure that every American has access to the prevention tools we know work, we can avoid the outcomes projected in this study."
The study was presented at the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic infections. They also announced that the overall likelihood for an American to be diagnosed with HIV has improved from 1 in 78 in 2005 to 1 in 99 in 2015.
However, gay men have a 79% higher chance of being diagnosed with HIV than heterosexual men and 1 in 6 will be diagnosed with HIV at some point. That rate varies by race and ethnicity, with gay and bisexual black men having a 1 in 2 risk, while Hispanic men have a 1 in 4 risk. White men have a 1 in 11 risk.
It seems that black men at 7 times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV. This extends to women as well, with 1 in 48 black women, 1 in 227 Hispanic women, and 1 in 880 white women likely to be diagnosed in their lifetime.
People living in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Maryland also have a great risk, with the rest of the south being risky as well.
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"As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. "The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don't scale up efforts now."