1 in 2 gay black men may contract HIV in their lifetimes, new data show

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WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 7:  during a free HIV testing event at by the Whitman-Walker Health February 7, 2012 in Washington, DC.  Whitman-Walker Health held the event to observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Naomie Harris, right, explains an HIV test during a free HIV testing event at by the Whitman-Walker Health on Feb. 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. Whitman-Walker Health held the event to observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

One out of every two black men who have sex with men, and one in four Hispanic men who have sex with men, will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in their lives if diagnosis rates remain the same, a new analysis released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

For white men who have sex with men, the rate will be one in 11 people, the CDC said.

CDC officials used the release of the data to call for expanded efforts to stem HIV transmission so the predicted rates don’t become a reality.

“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 US, but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don’t scale up efforts now,” CDC official Dr. Jonathan Mermin said in a statement.

Using diagnosis and death data from 2009 to 2013, CDC researchers estimated a person’s lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis by sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and state of residence. Overall, they found that the lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis for someone living in the United States is one in 99, a drop in disease incidence from the one in 78 rate seen in 2004-2005.

 Lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis among men who have sex with men (MSM) by Race/Ethnicity. Image by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis among men who have sex with men (MSM) by Race/Ethnicity. Image by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

While studies have shown African Americans do not engage in riskier sexual encounters than people of other races and identities, according to the CDC, other factors could produce an elevated risk for HIV, including “higher prevalence within the community, which poses an increased risk of infection with each sexual encounter; lack of access to healthcare; poverty; and stigma.”

The analysis also found:

  • Not accounting for race or ethnicity, one in six men who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV if current rates persist. That’s a higher rate than women who inject drugs (one in 23) and men who inject drugs (one in 26). Heterosexual women face a rate of one in 241, and for heterosexual men, it’s one in 473. The report did not include data on gay or bisexual women.
  • One in 20 black men will be diagnosed with HIV during his lifetime, the highest rate among different ethnicities and genders. Black women and Hispanic men both face rates of one in 48, while one in 132 white men will receive an HIV diagnosis. One in 227 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with HIV in her life, while one in 880 white women will be.
  • Geographically, people in the South are the most likely to acquire HIV. At the state level, the highest risk of HIV is in Washington, D.C., where one in 13 residents will be diagnosed in their lifetimes, the data show. Maryland had the second highest rate, at one in 49 residents, while North Dakota had the lowest rate, of one in 670 residents.

This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on February 23, 2016. Find the original story here.

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