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Bearing the Brunt of AIDS in Developed Nations

Bearing the Brunt of AIDS in Developed Nations

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Developed countries that have otherwise made strides against HIV still show rising infection rates among black men and women, say experts. 'AIDS in America is a black disease no matter how you look at it'by gender or sexual orientation or age or socioeconomic class or region in the country,' says Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute. AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women ages 25 to 34. In 2003, 60% of all American females with HIV were black. African-American women make up 68% of new U.S. HIV cases. And blacks make up 13% of the U.S. population but represent an estimated 42% of HIV patients. A CDC study released in June has shown that U.S. black men who have sex with men have HIV infection rates of 46%, higher than in sub-Saharan Africa. Another CDC study has shown that while U.S. high school students overall are engaging in less high-risk sexual behavior, decreases in sexual activity and increases in condom use among black teens have leveled off in the past few years after progress in the early 1990s. The CDC's Laura Kann says the finding shows a need to intensify prevention efforts among African-American and Latino adolescents. Researchers said people of African and Caribbean descent in developed nations, especially heterosexual women and men who have sex with men, have higher HIV rates than the overall population. Esther Tharao of the Canadian Treatment Action Council says it is not only in the developing world that people die for lack of access to treatment. She cited stigma, lack of residency status, and differences in culture and language as barriers to treatment access for HIV-positive immigrants.

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