African-Americans living with HIV have lower rates of linkage to care, retention in care and viral suppression than their white counterparts. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report focusing on the so-called HIV care continuum among HIV-positive Blacks parses the data to identify numerous disparities among subpopulations, breaking down the data by age group, sex and HIV transmission category.
Publishing their findings in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers analyzed data from the National HIV Surveillance System, relying on reporting about people 13 years old and older living with diagnosed HIV through December 2015. The reporting came from 32 states and the District of Columbia, jurisdictions that together account for 65.3 percent of Blacks living with diagnosed HIV at the end of 2013.
Among those diagnosed with HIV through 2012 who were still living at the end of 2013, 68.1 percent of Blacks received any HIV-related medical care compared with 74.4 percent of whites.
Among those who were diagnosed with the virus during 2014, 21.9 percent of the 12,269 Blacks already had AIDS compared with 22.5 percent of whites.
A respective 71.6 percent and 79 percent of Blacks and whites diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were linked to care for the virus within one month of diagnosis. Among just the Blacks, broken down by transmission category and age group, men who have sex with men (MSM) who inject drugs and were 13 to 24 years old had the lowest linkage rate, at 54.9 percent, followed by heterosexual males 25 to 34 years old, at 63 percent.
Out of those diagnosed with HIV through 2012 who were alive at the end of 2013, 53.5 percent of Blacks and 58.2 percent of whites were receiving continuous HIV-related medical care (meaning they were retained in care) and 48.5 percent of Blacks and 62 percent of whites had achieved a fully suppressed viral load.
Among the 257,316 African-Americans with HIV in the 33 jurisdictions at the end of 2013, male injection drug users had the lowest rate of being retained in care, at 38.1 percent, followed by heterosexual males 13 to 24 years old, at 39.4 percent.
Among Blacks living with HIV at the end of 2013, the lowest viral suppression rate was among 13- to 24- year-olds, at 39.7 percent; the rates rose with increasing age groups. Female injection drug users 13 to 24 years old had the lowest viral suppression rates, at 29.7 percent, followed by heterosexual males in that age bracket, at 31.2 percent.
To read the report, click here.