CDC: HIV Infections Up Among Black MSM

Study shows dramatic rise for black men who sleep with men. The agency told The Root how it plans to respond.

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New HIV-infection rates among young black men who have sex with men rose dramatically during a four-year study, while overall infections in the United States remained relatively stable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new HIV infection rate among young black men who sleep with men (MSM), ages 13 to 29, skyrocketed 48 percent during the four years of the study from 2006 to 2009, according to new statistics released by the CDC on Wednesday. The numbers rose from 4,400 HIV infections in 2006 to 6,500 infections in 2009.

"We are expanding prevention programs that will allow us to meet the specific needs of MSM," Donna McCree of the CDC told The Root. "We cannot allow the health of a new generation to be lost to a disease that is preventable."

Additionally, new HIV infections were relatively stable at 50,000 each year. The information, which was released as part of the CDC's first multiyear study, was published in the online scientific journal PLoS One.

"More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year," Thomas Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC, said in a prepared statement. "Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing, and this increase is particularly concerning among young African American MSM.

"HIV infections can be prevented," Frieden continued. "By getting tested, reducing risky behaviors and getting treatment, people can protect themselves and their loved ones.”

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