Data Shows HIV Infections In Young Gay Men Drop But Racial Disparity Remains

Latest Data Shows HIV Infections In Young Gay Men Drop But Racial Disparity Remains


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report that highlights positive strides in the fight against HIV.

HIV infections in the United States have gone down in recent years, with 32,000 new HIV cases reported in 2021, a 12% drop from 2017, CNN reports. The numbers continue to look good amongst young gay and bisexual men, with infections falling 34%, more than twice as much, in the demographic ranging from 13 to 24 in the same timeframe. While this is great news for those still fighting and advocating for those infected, major racial gaps remain.

White gay and bisexual men saw more improvements than their Black and Hispanic counterparts. Black and Hispanic people don’t represent an equal share of new HIV infections. PrEP, a preventative treatment, has been successful in keeping infections down. However, the report suggests that only a few prescriptions were provided to Black or Hispanic people in 2021. A small number of Black people eligible for PrEP—11%—were prescribed it. Seventy-eight percent of white people were given the medicine, compared to 20% of Hispanics.

Even with preventive drugs and self-testing options, health officials warn that this progress is somewhat fragile. “At least three people in America get HIV every day, and that is far too many,” Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, told Politico. Several factors remain in the way of progress being stable, like location. Over half of new HIV infections reported in 2021 came from the South, where Medicaid hasn’t been expanded under the Affordable Care Act.

With Democrats and Republicans still fighting on raising the debt ceiling, experts say it could result in new infections and more people living with HIV. Part of the debate stems from politicians looking to cut funding for healthcare, including testing, case investigation, and HIV/STD treatment.

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