News

AFC Statement on New HIV Data

December 21, 2012

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New national and local HIV data is both affirmation of ongoing efforts and a call to do more.

Media contact: John Peller, 312-334-0921

At the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, we are cautiously encouraged by new data released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that new HIV cases remained relatively stable from 2007-2010 at about 50,000 cases per year.

Data shows that HIV continues to affect gay and bisexual men — particularly young gay/bisexual men of color — and black women disproportionately, demonstrating the need for increased investment in ending health disparities.

It is clear that there remains a tremendous amount of work yet to be done to stem the epidemic among our most vulnerable populations. On a bright note, much of that work is currently underway here in Chicago and the results show early proof that it’s working.

 

From the CDC data, the most notable good news was the decrease of new HIV infections among African-American women, with new cases dropping 21 percent from 2008-2010.  However, black women remain disproportionately affected, representing two out of three new HIV infections among women in the United States. Overall, women represent 20% of new HIV infections in 2010.

The most heavily affected population continues to be gay and bisexual men. The general stability in HIV infections masks a 12 percent overall increase among gay/bisexual men, and an alarming 22 percent increase in HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men age 13-24 from 2008-2010.

We are also deeply concerned that young African-American gay and bisexual men make up more than half (55 percent) of new infections among HIV-positive gay/bisexual men in the 13-24 year old age group.

Locally, efforts to mobilize affected communities are making headway. As a result of private and government investments, young gay men of color are accepting HIV testing more often, a critical step to learn their HIV status and seek clinical care and other essential services if infected. In fact, recent data from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)  shows that 71 percent of young black gay/bisexual men participating in a recent survey tested for HIV at least once in the past year, the highest rate of any gay/bisexual racial or ethnic group.

And more people know their HIV status these days in Chicago. One in three young gay/bisexual Chicago men were unaware that they have HIV in 2011, down from two out of three in 2008, according to the CDPH study.  And the percentage of HIV-positive black gay/bisexual men on HIV treatment doubled — from just 43 percent in 2008 to 84 percent in 2011.

We hope these new data sets further embolden local and national efforts against HIV/AIDS moving forward. Overall, the stability in new HIV cases show that continued public and private investment in HIV prevention and care programs is necessary to make further progress against the epidemic.

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Founded in 1985 by community activists and physicians, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is a catalyst for local, national, and international action against HIV/AIDS.

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