A new report on HIV diagnoses and prevention shows that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to carry the largest burden of HIV transmission and risk, with dramatic increases of new diagnoses in African-American and Latino men.
The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report takes a look at national stats from 2005 through 2014.
Overall, the report notes that new HIV diagnoses have fallen 19 percent since 2005. For men of color however, rates have remained either steady or are increasing.
By the numbers
- Diagnoses among African-American MSM rose 22 percent since 2005, though the study notes that new diagnoses have leveled off since 2010.
- Diagnoses among Latino MSM have risen a quarter since 2005, with marked increases in recent years.
- Diagnoses among MSM of all races aged 13-24 rose significantly, though MSM of color have seen the sharpest increases; according to Mother Jones, 5,540 teens were diagnosed with 2014, a rise of 87 percent since 2005.
- People living in the South are 34 percent more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than Americans overall.
- MSM account for 67 percent of all Americans living with HIV.
- 38 percent of MSM diagnosed with HIV are African-American
- 26 percent of MSM diagnosed with HIV are Latino
- 47 percent of all MSM diagnoses were in youth under the age of 30
Treatment and prevention
New waves of progress are being seen as awareness on PrEP — the use of Truvada in HIV-negative individuals to prevent new HIV infections — spreads throughout the LGBT community. Some new marketing efforts are trying to drive up acceptance of PrEP, even as some reports show that only 21,000 people are currently on PrEP; the CDC says nearly 1.2 million people should be on a PrEP regimen, including some 25 percent of the MSM population.
But the biggest rise in new diagnoses seems to be coming from those who are HIV-positive but not yet in regular treatment.
“Although rates of treatment and viral suppression are improving and documented rates may underestimate actual rates,” reads a recent report, “hundreds of thousands of people with diagnosed HIV infection are not receiving care or ART; these people account for most new HIV transmissions in the United States.”
As of 2012, only 39 percent of those diagnosed with HIV had begun care. Only 36 percent have been prescribed anti-retroviral regimen. Less than a third have reached an “undetectable” status, at which point it becomes nearly impossible to transmit the virus.
The CDC and others have routinely cited several barriers to care, including lack of access or culturally competent treatment, especially for MSM of color and youth. Advocates have also criticized sex-ed curriculum that fails to adequately address sexual health needs for LGBT youth. [Related: Five gay things I should have been taught in sex ed]
Local stats are similar
Local diagnosis and treatment statistics track the national averages, according to data from a North Carolina report released in August 2015.
In 2014, 40 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the state were among young men aged 13-29.
MSM accounted for 64 percent of all new diagnoses.
Mecklenburg County has, by far, the largest rate of all new HIV diagnoses, accounting for nearly 24 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the state. Wake County had the second-highest rate, with 11 percent of all new diagnoses.