While we have made great strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the numbers are staggering and it remains clear that our most vulnerable -- youth, heterosexual women, and gay/bisexual men -- need additional support networks to prevent the spread of HIV through education and testing. The number of new HIV cases in the United States has remained fairly stable at about 50,000 per year between 2006 and 2009, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in early August in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.
While only representing 14 percent of the U.S. population, Black men and women account for 44 percent of all new HIV infections, according to the most recent information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009. We are the most disproportionately impacted racial/ethnic group across all sub-populations [e.g., men, women, youth, and men who sleep with men (MSM)] in the United States -- at all stages of the disease -- from new infections to deaths. At some point in our lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 Black men and 1 in 32 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. These numbers do not include those who will go undiagnosed. Shame, denial and lack of information about human sexuality fuel the skyrocketing HIV rates that we are experiencing. Predictably, the epidemic continues to affect Black America disproportionately.
Forty-four percent of all new infections occurred among African Americans, who make up only about 13 percent of the population.
Gay and bisexual men, who make up only an estimated two percent of the population, accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009.
Young Black gay and bi men--"men who have sex with men" (MSM), in public health jargon--ages 13 to 29 experienced the greatest increases, with infection rates skyrocketing by more than 48 percent.