More on the latest HIV stats from the CDC

Posted on 21 Jun 2010 at 1:47pm

cdc_logo(2)Jennifer Horvath from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted me about my article on National HIV Testing Day that appeared in Friday’s paper.

She sent along a ton of additional statistics and clarifications. The data, of course, is not as simple as a few sentences in the paper.

First of all, our secondary headline said, “New report from CDC says most recent data shows that MSM continue to make up the largest percentage of new infections.” Of course we meant new diagnoses. Some people go years after being infected without being diagnosed. That’s what National HIV Testing Day is all about. Know your status.

And as a reminder, if you haven’t had a test recently, free testing is available all this week in a variety of locations as well as on the actual day.

New diagnoses are for HIV only, not HIV and AIDS. The numbers reported do not refer to people with HIV who develop into an AIDS diagnosis. Sure, many people who are never tested don’t find out that they’re HIV-positive until they’re diagnosed with an opportunistic infection, which can be part of an AIDS diagnosis, but the stats the CDC reported are for HIV diagnoses only.

Horvath said the HIV rate in Texas is much more than the large number of cases. Other states have a higher rate. But she also corrected a number of the statistics I reported, unfortunately increasing the numbers to even more cases.

“If you look at the number of cases, Texas does appear to have the fourth-largest number of estimated AIDS cases in 2008,” Horvath said, but the rate in other states is higher.

“This same chart also has data on cumulative AIDS diagnoses for all of these areas — and since the beginning of the epidemic, 77,070 people in Texas have been diagnosed with AIDS,” she said.

The total number of people in the United States and five dependent areas is actually higher than I reported.

“Cumulative AIDS deaths through 2007 were 576,384 (in the 50 states) and 21,115 (in the dependent areas),” she said.

In the U.S., men who have sex with men continue to be the group most severely affected by HIV and represent the only risk group with an annual increase in number of infections.

Here are some more facts and statistics she sent along about HIV and the gay community:

  • MSM account for nearly half of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. (48%, or an estimated
    532,000 total persons).
  • MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year (53%, or an estimated 28,700 infections).
  • While CDC estimates that MSM account for just 4 percent of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, the rate of
    new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the U.S. is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522–989 per 100,000
    MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men).
  • MSM is the only risk group in the U.S. in which new HIV infections are increasing. While new infections have
    declined among both heterosexuals and injection drug users, the annual number of new HIV infections among MSM
    has been steadily increasing since the early 1990s.

While Texas ranks fourth in number of HIV cases, we rank lower in rate of infection (which takes into account number of cases as a percent of the population). Of the top regions of the country affected by HIV, no Texas city is in the top tier. Are our prevention programs working or are other areas just failing worse than we are?

Another alarming fact is that 14,000 people per year still die of AIDS-related complications. Drugs have made the disease more manageable but don’t rid the body of the infection. Prevention and education are still the best tools we have.

Here are some facts and statistics about HIV in general:

  • More than 1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. (an estimated 1,106,400 adults and adolescents), and approximately one in five of those (21 percent) are unaware of their infections.
  • Despite increases in the total number of people living with HIV in the U.S. in recent years, the annual number of new infections has remained relatively stable.
  • However, HIV infections continue at far too high a level, with an estimated 56,300 Americans becoming newly infected with HIV each year. On average, that’s one new infection every 9.5 minutes.
  • More than 14,000 people with AIDS still die each year in the U.S.
  • Men account for roughly three-quarters of individuals living with and newly infected with HIV.
  • HIV has a severe impact on all regions of the country. Areas hardest hit include Miami; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; New York City; San Francisco; and Jackson, Miss.
  • By risk group, gay and bisexual men of all races remain the population most severely impacted by HIV:
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year
    (53 percent), as well as nearly half of people living with HIV (48 percent).
    • While new HIV infections have declined among both heterosexuals and injection drug users, infections among MSM have been steadily increasing since the early 1990s.
  • Among racial/ethnic groups, African-Americans face the most severe burden of HIV and AIDS in the nation:
    • While blacks represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for almost half of people living with HIV in the U.S. (46 percent), as well as nearly half of new infections each year (45 percent).
    • At some point in their life, approximately one in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will one in 30 black women.
    • The rate of new HIV infections for black men is about six times as high as that of white men, nearly three times that
    of Hispanic men, and more than twice that of black women. The HIV incidence rate for black women is nearly 15 times as high as that of white women, and nearly four times that of Hispanic women.
  • Latinos are also disproportionately impacted:
    • Hispanics represent 13 percent of the population but account for an estimated 18 percent of people living with HIV
    and 17 percent of new infections.
    • The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic men is more than double that of white men, and the rate among Hispanic women is nearly four times that of white women.
  • HIV infections among both blacks and Hispanics overall have been roughly stable since the early 1990s.

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