A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that HIV infection rates have fallen or stabilized in the United States for pretty much everyone except Latinos and young gay or bisexual men between the ages of 25 and 34.
Overall HIV infection rates dropped by 18% in the general population between 2008 and 2014, with the sharpest decline among heterosexuals and IV drug users. Infection rates remained stable among gay and bisexual men overall (which is good news seeing as rates among gay and bi men had previously been increasing for many years). But among young or Latino queer men, rates of HIV have actually risen.
The Washington Post writes:
Among gay and bisexual men ages 25 to 34, the number of diagnoses rose by 35 percent in 2014, from 7,200 to 9,700. Among Latino gay and bisexual males of all ages, it increased by 20 percent, from 6,100 to 7,300. Residents of Southern states, which make up 37 percent of the population, accounted for half the estimated number of infections in 2014.
The CDC reports that Hispanics or Latinos accounted for 24% of new HIV diagnoses in 2014, despite being only 17% of the population.
And though HIV rates have leveled off for black gay/bi men, their community remains the most severely affected by the virus with gay and bi black men having a one-in-two chance of contracting HIV at some point in their lives. Overall, HIV continues to disproportionately affect gay and bi men at greater numbers than anyone other demographic.
The CDC accounts the overall decrease to “public education efforts that encourage people to know their HIV status and to treatment with medications that keep viral loads low and reduce transmission,” although the organization acknowledges that the increased use of Pre-Exposure Prophylactics (PrEP) may have also contributed.
It’s also important to note that these decreases happened under the Obama Administration and his National HIV Strategy, but no one knows what will happen under a Trump administration, which has been hostile to immigrants, Latinos and queer people and has yet to develop an HIV strategy.
(Header image via Mike Slichenmyer)