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Silence: The Other Black Male Epidemic
Half of Black and a quarter of Hispanic gay and bisexual men will likely be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime, according to a new study. This disturbing prediction by the nations premiere health agency, begs the question – Are Public Health Institutions failing people of color. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been criticized for poor responses to HIV/AIDS in the 1980’s and among non-white populations since.
Additionally, there have been lapses with patients with resistant strains of TB, Ebola, and most recently the CDC recommendations to pregnant women. There have even been major lapses in CDC lab safety. Can the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention be relied upon to protect the public anymore? Further, based upon the continued rise decade over decade of new HIV and sexually transmitted infections, does the CDC have the right tools, staff, and overall capacity to prevent disease transmission?
Is this recent announcement by the CDC notice of defeat? Where are the new disease prevention strategies?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States is declining, but found in a study on lifetime risk of contracting the disease that risk is higher for some groups of people.
About a quarter of gay Hispanic men are also estimated to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime.
Overall, Black men are 7 times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV, despite other studies showing black people do not engage in more risky sexual behavior compared to other racial or ethnic groups. The racial difference in risk extends to women as well, with 1 in 48 black women likely to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 227 Hispanic women and 1 in 880 white women.
Living in the South also increases the risk for an HIV diagnosis, with people living in Maryland, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana having the greatest risk. It should also be noted that recent news reports in metro Atlanta, point to major mismanagement of millions of HIV funding from local health department. Funding from the CDC to the local health department, NOT SPENT on Black gay men.
CDC officials note that funding and programs have increased since 2010 in the South and in communities where need exists, but that not enough has been done to help decrease the chances for diagnosis of or death because of HIV.
Partial content for this article provided by the United Press International and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.