HIV infections have always been an issue that needs to be addressed in the Black community. But in a report by the CDC, the number of infections among gay and bisexual Black and Latino men has not had serious changes in the last decade. They have remained stagnant.
Overall, gay and bisexual infections have decreased when you include all ethnicities, but no big changes among the Black and Latino men demographic. Furthermore, treatment and prevention have decreased among young Black and Latino men, according to NBC News.
Why is this important? We can infer from the numbers that this disease has not been given the attention it deserves lately when it’s still affecting communities of color.
From NBC News:
The study, which used data from the National HIV Surveillance System, analyzed data among an estimated 692,900 men who have sex with men who had HIV in 2019. While 90 percent of white men with HIV received a diagnosis in the year since they contracted the virus, only 83 percent of Black men and 80 percent of Latino men with HIV had received a diagnosis within that first year.
Black people make up the highest proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people living with HIV in the U.S., compared to people of other races and ethnic groups. According to 2018 CDC data, although Black people only made up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they made up 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses. Black women also make up a large portion of HIV diagnoses.
The CDC’s new findings reveal an increased inaccessibility to HIV health services, particularly in Black and Latino communities. To reduce infections, the CDC said efforts must “address their root causes, including systemic racism, stigma, discrimination, homophobia, poverty, homelessness, and unequal access to care and prevention services.” The report also suggested scaling-up strategies and approaches supported by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to combat the issue.
The world has been wrapped up in the COVID-19 pandemic for the past year and a half and it is still running rampant with a new variant that just touched down in the U.S. But we can’t forget another epidemic that communities of color have been fighting for the past three decades.
There was a time when Black celebrities were in the frontlines in the battle against HIV/AIDS, but where are those warriors now?
We are the majority of people that are being infected with HIV. And the fact that nothing has essentially changed among gay and bisexual men is a scary stat that needs to be changed to ensure the health of everyone in communities of color.