Blacks With HIV Still Less Likely To Get Treatment – But Why?

doctor holding hiv test tube

While HIV diagnoses dropped significantly over the past decade in the United States, blacks with HIV are less likely than whites or Hispanics to receive routine, ongoing care, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 2005 to 2014, annual HIV diagnoses fell 19 percent in the United States. Infections among black women dropped 42 percent during this period. Despite this progress in the fight against HIV, racial disparities persist, the CDC found. While black people make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for nearly half of all HIV diagnoses in 2014.

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“CDC has been working for many years to eliminate the HIV disparities that exist within the black community,” Dr. Eugene McCray, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in an agency news release. “While we are seeing signs of success, we must continue our focus on prevention strategies that will have the greatest impact on African American communities and the nation overall. A key area of focus is ensuring that people living with HIV are diagnosed early, quickly linked to care and receive consistent care that improves their lives and protects the health of their partners.”

In addition to helping people with the virus improve their health, ongoing care can prevent new HIV infections. The CDC pointed out that HIV is most often spread by infected people who are not being treated and those who are unaware that they have the virus.

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