October 5, 2018 at 8:35 am EST | by Staff reports
Increased testing rates may be behind higher HIV figures
HIV diagnoses, testing, HIV rates, HIV testing, gay news, Washington Blade

New CDC data finds HIV diagnoses rising fastest for young men who have sex with men (MSM).

NEW YORK — New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that HIV diagnoses are rising faster for young men who have sex with men (MSM) than for their older MSM peers. However, the extent to which the rates are being driven by increased testing or by an increase in transmission is unclear, MD Magazine reports.

The CDC reported that between 2008-2016, the annual number of new HIV diagnoses among young MSM (those aged 13-29) increased by 3 percent per year, while decreasing 4 percent per year among MSM aged 30-49, and remaining virtually unchanged for MSM over the age of 50. Overall, the number of new infections among the youngest cohort of MSM was four times higher than among the 50-plus age group, MD Magazine reports.

At the same time, the number of MSM living with HIV from 2008-2015 increased by 11 percent among the 50-and-older age group, and as of the end of 2015 there were three times as many 50-plus MSM living with HIV as there were young men with HIV. The latter figure is evidence of the effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which is making it possible for people to live long lives even after an HIV diagnosis, MD Magazine reports.

Andrew Mitsch, MPH, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said the age-cohort disparities themselves were not a surprise, but he and his colleagues were struck by the size of the gaps. However, Mitsch told MD Magazine the increase in diagnoses among young MSM might not be due to risky behavior.

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