A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of new human HIV infections among black women has dropped for the first time. While there was a 21 percent decrease in the number of black women contracting the disease between 2008 and 2010, black women account for two-thirds of new infections in American women.
Blacks in general represent 14 percent of the population and about 44 percent of new HIV infections.
In March, the CDC unveiled a new campaign called “Take the Test” in conjunction with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The campaign was designed to increase HIV testing and awareness in 10 cities where black women were most at risk for the disease.
The rate of new infections among gay men increased by 22 percent between 2008 and 2010. In 2008, the number of new infections was 26,700. That number increased to 29,800 in 2010.
While gay and bisexual men make up approximately four percent of the population (two percent by some reports), they account for 63 percent of new infections. Young black gay and bisexual men make up the largest subgroup of new infections.
There was no significant change in the rate of new infections among whites.
The rate of new infections has largely remained steady over the past decade, falling from about 50,000 to 47,5000 in 2010.
The report comes a little over a month after a different study, which appeared in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that one-fifth of American youth born with HIV had no idea they were positive when they had sex for the first time. More disturbing, however, was the fact that 62 percent of perinatally HIV positive youth reported having unprotected sex at least once. Only 33 percent reported their HIV status to their partner.
The CDC unveiled a new approach to lowering the number of new HIV infections and, hopefully, achieving an HIV-free generation. The five areas the CDC will focus on are: Supporting prevention programs, tracking the epidemic, supporting HIV prevention, raising awareness, and supporting structural interventions.
On December 1, World AIDS Day, President Obama said, “We have made great strides in combating this disease, and an AIDS-free generation is within sight.”