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HIV Still High Among Latinos

HIV Still High Among Latinos

The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with HIV among Latinos is one in 36 for males and one in 106 for females, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is based on data from 37 states and Puerto Rico.

"CDC data show a fairly stable HIV epidemic among Latinos for more than a decade," says Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. "However, the burden of HIV among Latinos is great. Latinos represent approximately 16% of the U.S. population, and the latest CDC estimates show that Latinos account for approximately 17% of new infections and 18% of people living with HIV."

In 2006 male-to-male sexual contact was associated with an estimated 55% of new HIV infections among all Hispanics. Among Hispanic males, male-to-male contact was associated with an estimated 72% of new infections. For Hispanic females, high-risk heterosexual contact was associated with 83% of new infections.

In 2008 nearly half (46%) of HIV-infected Hispanic men who have sex with men did not know they were infected, compared with 26% of white MSM, according to the CDC.

Factors that place Latinos at high risk include lack of awareness about infection, cultural and socioeconomic factors such as poverty and language barriers, and concerns about immigration status, according to federal health officials. Other barriers include fear of stigma and discrimination, particularly among gay and bisexual men and people with HIV.

The full report, "Estimated Lifetime Risk for Diagnosis of HIV Infection Among Hispanics/Latinos -- 37 States and Puerto Rico, 2007," was published in “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

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