NYC Women With Bisexual Partners Account for 3 in 4 HIV Diagnoses

A new study reports that in New York City, women are now more likely to contract HIV from a male partner who also has sex with men, than from using IV drugs or having sex with someone who does.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

January 03 2014 10:37 AM ET

New stats from the New York Department of Health and Hygiene and the Centers for Disease Control show that, in New York City, the majority of 647 women who tested HIV-positive in 2012 acquired the virus through unprotected sex with bisexual men.

Carl Campanile of the New York Post reports that previously, a majority of women in NYC contracted HIV by sharing needles during drug use or through sex with men who were IV drug users and did so themselves. But those types of cases have plunged.

But in 2012, Campanile writes, of the 647 women diagnosed with HIV, three-quarters (480 women) had sex with infected men, which "means women are contracting HIV from men who’ve had sex with other men."

“Men who engage in sex both with men and women can acquire HIV from a male partner and then transmit the virus to female partners,” an unnamed spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control told the Post. “However, these women may not have known of their male partners’ sexual activity.”

Black women continue to be most impacted by this, with HIV rates over 12 times higher than the rate among white womenin the city.

“Stigma, fear, discrimination, homophobia, and negative perceptions about HIV testing can also place too many African Americans at higher risk. Many at risk for infection fear stigma more than infection and may choose instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing,” the CDC rep told Campanile.

Overall, new cases of HIV in NYC have dropped 25 percent since 2008, with a total of 114,926 people living with HIV or AIDS in the city. The same study, according to Campanile, found that 1,578 people died from AIDS-related complications in 2012 and men still account for eight in 10 of the new HIV cases, mostly transmitted through unprotected sex with other men.

The Post quotes an unnamed "HIV study," that found "one in three black men, one in four Hispanic men, and one in seven white men reported having unprotected sex with women as well as men," though HIV Plus could not find that study.

A 2004 study, "Are Bisexual Men a Bridge Population for HIV Transmission to Women in NYC?" from the NYC Department of Health found that overall 12 percent of men who had sex with men also had sex with women, and among black men; among black men that number rose to 26 percent.

For a breakdown of New York City's HIV surveillance tables, go to NYC.gov.
 

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