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THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks are diagnosed with HIV more often than any other group of Americans, and while their death rate from the disease is declining, it is still higher than in other racial/ethnic group.
Those are the findings of two new U.S. government studies reported Thursday. The findings show the need to redouble efforts to provide black Americans with better HIV prevention, diagnosis and care, the researchers, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said.
The first study involved an analysis of data from CDC-funded HIV testing in 61 regions across the country in 2013. Blacks accounted for 45 percent of people tested for HIV, the largest proportion of any racial/ethnic group.
Blacks also accounted for nearly 55 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. Among blacks diagnosed with HIV, gay men accounted for about 37 percent of the new diagnoses, according to the study.
The researchers also found significant gaps in care for blacks diagnosed with HIV. For example, only about 54 percent of newly diagnosed blacks were referred to HIV prevention services.
The second study found that deaths among blacks with HIV fell 28 percent from 2008 to 2012 in the United States, while the overall decline in the death rate for people with HIV dropped 22 percent. Hispanics with HIV saw a 25 percent decline in deaths, compared to a 13 percent drop among whites with HIV.
Despite the largest decline, the death rate for blacks with HIV in 2012 was 13 percent higher than the rate for whites and 47 percent higher than the rate for Hispanics.
The authors of the studies noted in a CDC news release that blacks comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population, but more than one-third of those with HIV in the United States. And, while there has been progress in HIV testing, 15 percent of blacks with HIV don't know they have the infection, and many who have been diagnosed do not receive care and treatment.
Both studies appear in the Feb. 6 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
-- Robert Preidt
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