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Updated Estimates for U.S. HIV Infection Rates

, by Reilly O'Neal

The latest HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report, Estimated HIV Incidence in the United States, 2007–2010, highlights the continued increase in new HIV infections among U.S. gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as the disproportionately high burden of HIV among African-Americans.

Released in December 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report adds HIV incidence estimates from two more states (California and Massachusetts) to data already presented in the previous HIV Surveillance Report for 2010, and compares estimates of HIV incidence—the number of new cases in a given time period—for 2008 and 2010. (Wondering how researchers come up with these estimates? See Manali Nekkanti’s user-friendly BETA piece, “HIV Surveillance: Understanding the Numbers.“)

“Comparing 2008 to 2010, the estimated incidence of HIV infection remained stable overall, however, there were some notable differences in HIV incidence by subgroup,” the report notes.

An estimated 47,500 new HIV infections occurred in both 2008 and 2010. HIV incidence among women of all ethnicities decreased 21%, from an estimated 12,000 to 9,500 in 2008 and 2010, respectively. In addition, among African-American women in particular, the number of new HIV infections declined 21% (from 7,700 in 2008 to 6,100 in 2010). However, the authors observe, “the rate of new HIV infections for black/African American females…was 20.1 times the rate for white females” in 2010, and African-Americans “accounted for 44% of the new HIV infections, followed by whites (31%) and Hispanics/Latinos (21%).”

The report further emphasizes the disproportionate HIV burden borne by men who have sex with men: “Although MSM repre­sent about 4% of the male population in the United States, in 2010 MSM accounted for 78% of the new HIV infections among males.” The estimated number of new HIV infections among MSM rose 12%, from 26,700 in 2008 to 29,800 in 2010, the report states. In addition, a 22% increase in new HIV infections occurred among young MSM (13–24 years of age), from an estimated 7,200 new cases in 2008 to an estimated 8,800 in 2010.

Within this population, the greatest number of new HIV infections occurred in African-American MSM aged 13–24 years. “Young black/African American MSM accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among black/African American MSM and 55% of new HIV infections among young MSM overall,” the authors write. “Overall, blacks/African Americans and MSM continue to bear a disproportionate burden of new HIV infections.”

Click here to read the full HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report. For a reader-friendly fact sheet on the data presented in the report, click here. And for further reading and resources, don’t miss the related BETA posts listed below.

Reilly O’Neal is a freelance writer and former editor of BETA.

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