CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently reported that African Americans are less likely to receive HIV medical care. From 2011 to 2013, blacks living in the United States less frequently received ongoing HIV medical care than patients of other ethnicities, according to the same research.
African American males were less likely to receive consistent medical care than African American females (35 percent and 44 percent, respectively). Among African Americans, receiving consistent HIV care was highest among those whose HIV infections were attributable to heterosexual contact. Those who got consistent HIV medical care for three years were considered consistently retained in care.
From 2012 to 2014, the CDC funded HIV testing, linkage to care, partner services and behavioral risk reduction programs through 61 state and local health departments and 151 community-based organizations.
To gauge the impact of these interventions, researchers examined data collected from the National HIV Prevention Program Monitoring and Evaluation concerning testing events and related services collected during this time period.
The researchers then determined the rate of HIV test positivity and linkage to HIV care within 90 days among non-Hispanic black women with new infection.
The number of annual CDC-funded testing events during this time period ranged from 702,328 to 793,894, and women aged 20 to 29 years accounted for 44.7% of all tests among black women. New diagnoses decreased 17% from 2012 to 2014; however, HIV test positivity rates remained relatively similar year to year.
Among black women with newly diagnosed infection, linkage to care within 90 days of diagnoses increased from a rate of 33.8% in 2012 to 50.1% in 2014. The researchers wrote that while these increases are beneficial to black women with newly diagnosed HIV, more interventions within the group may be needed to reach the 85% linkage rate targeted by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
The experts pointed out that, in order to continue to reduce HIV-related health disparities for black females in the United States, increasing HIV testing efforts among this group is needed to increase the percentage of black females living with HIV who are aware of their status.
Dr. Eugene McCray, the Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention sustains that,
in order to stop the HIV epidemic among African Americans, we must tackle the social inequities influencing HIV health outcomes and the disparities that persist at every stage of the continuum of HIV care, including identifying approaches to promote early linkage to and retention in care.
To help, the CDC is crafting a high-impact prevention approach that is funding HIV prevention services that target gay, bisexual and transgender youth of color.
The efforts include PrEP and HIV treatment as prevention, along with nearly $277 million in grants over five years.