According a CDC report, African Americans that are living with HIV are less likely than their white or Latino counterparts to receive medical care and treatment. Even though HIV diagnoses have been on the decline, this statistic brings to light how far we have to go when it comes to bridging the gap between medical care and HIV in our communities.
The fact that HIV diagnosis rates are steadily declining across demographics is a promising sign of progress. In the Black community specifically there has been a 42% decrease in HIV diagnosis amongst African American women since 2005. However, there are still disparities between African Americans and other ethnicities that remain.
For starters, even though Black people make up just 12% of the United States population, they also account for half of new HIV diagnoses. In the years between 2011 – 2013, only 38% of African Americans affected with HIV received consistent care. That number is significantly less than the approximately half of Latino and white Americans who are receiving the proper HIV care. And within the African American community there are even more disparities still with Black males less likely to receive care than Black females.
Ongoing medical care and treatment is an essential aspect of health for those who are affected with HIV. Not only does consistent treatment help those affected live healthier lives than those who aren’t receiving care, it also serves to reduce their risk of transmitting the HIV virus to others. So much so that, 90% of HIV transmissions occur from those who have been diagnosed but are not receiving ongoing treatment.
Since consistent care helps people with HIV to live longer, healthier, and prevent transmission, reducing these disparities in the Black community is essential to reduce HIV on a whole.
Learn more about the racial disparities when it comes to HIV and what the CDC is doing to invoke change at CDC.gov.