BOSTON — Half of black men who are gay and a quarter of Latino gay men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes if current trends continue, according to a first-of-its-kind federal analysis released Tuesday, the Boston Globe and other media outlets report.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the first to project the lifetime risk of HIV infection state by state and among certain groups of people. Based on death data from 2009-2013, the CDC concluded that gay and bisexual men, African-Americans and people who live in the South have the highest risk of infection, the Globe reports.
It is well-known that blacks and Latinos have been hit disproportionately by the HIV epidemic and that gay men are most at risk. But the new data present the disparities in striking terms, intended to drive public policy discussions, the article said.
Overall, the lifetime risk of an HIV infection has dropped among all Americans. Today, it is 1 in 99. About a decade ago, the risk was 1 in 78. Yet disparities continue.
Among other key findings in the CDC report:
• Among men who have sex with men, the lifetime risk of HIV infection is one in six. But the risk varies by race. For black men who have sex with men, the lifetime risk is one in two, for Latinos one in four, and for whites one in 11.
• All African-American men have a lifetime risk of one in 20, compared with one in 132 for white men.
• Among people who inject drugs, the risk is one in 23 for women and one in 36 for men. Women are more vulnerable because they may also be exposed through sex.
• People in Washington, D.C., have the highest risk in the country, while people in North Dakota have the lowest. States with the highest risk are Maryland, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. Massachusetts ranks near the middle, with residents facing a lifetime risk of one in 121.
The geographic disparities reflect, with few exceptions, which states have expanded Medicaid, Sciortino told the Globe. Where Medicaid provides services to the needy, the risk of infection goes down, he said.
From 2008-2011, the difference in life expectancy between those with HIV and those who were not infected was 13 years. But for those who started treatment early, the gap was only eight years, and among infected people who don’t have hepatitis, don’t use drugs or alcohol, and don’t smoke, the life-expectancy gap was five to seven years, the Globe reports.