Fifty percent of black men who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, according to findings presented Tuesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.
In addition, one in four Latino MSM and one in 11 white MSM will also contract the virus in their lifetime.
Jonathan Mermin, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, said these new statistics are “a call to action.”
"As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,” he said. “The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don’t scale up efforts now.”
The study, which the CDC called “the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of the lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis for several key populations at risk and in every state,” analyzed data from 2009 to 2013 of HIV and mortality rates among different risk groups across the country.
This data shows that gay and bisexual men remain the most at-risk demographic for HIV infection. Across the board, one in six will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
African-Americans continue to be the most at-risk racial group — one in 20 men and one in 48 women will have HIV in their lifetime.
“These estimates are a sobering reminder that gay and bisexual men face an unacceptably high risk for HIV — and of the urgent need for action,” added Eugene McCray, the director of the center’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “If we work to ensure that every American has access to the prevention tools we know work, we can avoid the outcomes projected in this study.”