February 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which promotes awareness of HIV and AIDS and the disparity in care between African Americans in the United States compared to individuals of different races.
Recently published CDC data show that although the annual HIV diagnosis rate between 2010 and 2014 decreased for black individuals by 16.2%, blacks remain disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS compared with other races.
As recently as 2015, African Americans accounted for 45% of all new HIV diagnoses, and the annual rate of HIV diagnosis among black women was nearly 16 times the rate among white women. Additionally, 21.9% of infections diagnosed among African Americans were classified as stage 3 at the time of diagnosis, and 71.6% were linked to care within 1 month. Only 53.5% were retained in care.
Data from the National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS), which monitors progress in reaching HIV care goals, indicated that blacks in America receive lower levels of care and treatment than those of other racial and ethnic groups.
National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) goals include 85% linkage to care, 90% retention in care, and 80% viral load suppression in African Americans by 2020. However, recent data indicate that care rates in these individuals are lagging, and improved efforts and more effective interventions are needed to achieve NHAS goals
According to the report, lowest levels of care and viral suppression were seen in individuals with infection attributed to injection drug use and men with infection attributed to heterosexual contact. The findings suggest implementing additional interventions to provide all patients with HIV optimal care and treatment, and especially tailored strategies for African Americans who may be most at risk for poor care outcomes.
Dailey AF, Johnson AS, Wu B. HIV care outcomes among blacks with diagnosed HIV – United States, 2014. MMWR
. 2017;66;97-103. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6604a2