The CDC recently published data that examined rates of HIV infection and prevalence from 2008-2016. While there were no big surprises, there are some important points to note.
Two-thirds of new HIV infections in the United States in are men who have sex with men (MSM).
45 percent of new diagnoses were in the 13 to 29 age group, 43 percent were in the 30-49 age group, and, lastly, 12 percent were in the 50 and up age group. The article notes that “The increase in annual diagnosis of HIV infections among younger MSM might reflect increased HIV testing, in addition to ongoing transmission.”
In the 13 to 29 age group, African-Americans made up 49 percent of new infections, where Hispanics/Latinos made up 25 percent and whites made up 19 percent, respectively.
In the 30-49 age group, African-American and Hispanic/Latino men each make up 28 percent of the new diagnoses.
The number of MSM men age 50 and over who are living with HIV increased 10.8 percent from 2008 to 2016. According to the article, “This group accounted for the largest age group of MSM living with diagnosed HIV infection, presumably as a result of increased survival associated with widespread use of antiretroviral therapy, surviving middle age, and advancing to the older group.”
What does all of this mean?
The data supports previous studies that show young MSM make up most of the new infections. In particular, young black and latino men are at highest risk.
HIV meds work; men with HIV are living longer and healthier lives.
What can we do about it?
The CDC suggests that testing is the answer: “Increasing HIV testing can help diagnose HIV infection sooner, enable MSM to access HIV treatment, and reduce HIV transmission to others.”
If you have not been tested and are at-risk, please reach out to our office to set up an appointment for HIV testing.
Jeremiah Robinson is a licensed and certified Physician Assistant at T. Douglas Gurley MD in Atlanta, GA.