Young, black and male — this demographic has the highest prevalence of new HIV contractions and the majority of them probably have no idea they’re infected.
According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study published last Tuesday, more than half of newly HIV-infected youth were African-Americans. The study looked at more than 12,000 new HIV cases among adolescents ages 13-24 and found that almost 7,000 were African-American. Nearly 80 percent of those black youth were male.
These numbers suggest that black male youth overall have a disproportionately higher risk of contracting HIV. African-American youth also made up of 54 percent of male to male sexual contact, the most common form of transmission.
Previous data from the CDC concludes that half of infected teens were unaware of their HIV status and only a small number of them, especially males, had been tested for HIV. Released in time before World Aids Day, the study sheds light into the lack of school and community interventions encouraging testing and educating youth on safe sex practices.
The CDC says these numbers are a result of youth having less access to health services catered to their care. They’re also less likely to be tested, access care and remain in care. The CDC suggests that culturally competent education, comprehensive health services and screenings are necessary for these at-risk youth.
The African-American demographic has historically had higher rates of HIV than any other racial group. In 2010, the number of African Americans infected with HIV was nearly three times higher than Hispanics/Latinos and eight times higher than Whites.
In fact, 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 30 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection in their lifetime.
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