A new examination of data has shown that over generations gay men in Seattle are less likely to be infected by HIV now than previously, but racial disparities still exist. The data was presented at the International AIDS Society Conference in Vancouver, according to AIDS Map, and indicated that there has been a significant drop in HIV infections among gay men.
Though the data only show numbers for a small population, they are an interesting way of looking at the history of the history of HIV and AIDS among gay men.
For the first age group studied (those born between 1945-1949), black and white gay men have almost identical infection rates during the first decade of the AIDS epidemic but gradually racial disparities take place. White men had an infection rate of 22 percent by age 50 whereas black men had an infection rate of 24 percent. By age 60, white men had an infection rate of 24 and black men had a rate of 29.
From there the disparities become more stark. In the generation hardest hit by AIDS, those born in the early 1960s, 35 percent of white gay men were infected by 40 versus 48 percent of black gay men. By age 50, 42 percent of white men were infected, considerably lower than the 60 percent infection rate among black men.
And though infection rates over younger generations have significantly dropped across the board, there is still large disparity between white and black men. Currently, white men have an infection rate of 10 percent compared to 17 percent of black men.
While Galant au Chan of the University of Washington who presented the data at the conference said that the data were not generalizable, and said that the Seattle area may be "ageing out of the HIV epidemic" as the data show a plateau in infection rates.
Chan said similar studies of other regions would be conducted in the future.