The death rate of HIV-positive African Americans has declined considerably in recent years, although significant disparities still exist when the statistics are compared with those of whites and Latinos, MedPage Today reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report of numbers and rates of death among Americans with HIV, based on data spanning 2009 through 2012 from the National HIV Surveillance System and the U.S. Census.

The estimated number of HIV-positive African Americans who died in any given year dropped 18 percent between 2008 and 2012, to 8,165 people. These individuals did not necessarily die of HIV-related causes; the CDC presented all-cause mortality figures, which merely reflect that someone living with the virus died. The 2012 figure for African Americans amounted to 48 percent of all deaths among Americans with HIV. One and a half times as many blacks died as whites (who experienced 5,426 deaths) in 2012, while the number of deaths among blacks was 3.2 times greater than the 2,586 deaths among Latinos.

In 2008, 28.4 out of 1,000 blacks with HIV died, a rate that dropped 28 percent to 20.5 out of 1,000 in 2012. The 2012 figure was 13 percent greater than the 18.1 death rate among whites with HIV and 47 percent higher than the 13.9 death rate for Latinos. Across the board, 18.5 per 1,000 people with HIV died in in 2012, a 22 percent drop since 2008.

When the CDC analyzed death rates based upon the percentage of the overall American population, the mortality rate among HIV-positive blacks dropped from 33.1 per 100,000 people in 2008 to 26 per 100,00 people in 2012, a 21-percent drop.

To read the CDC report, click here.

To read the MedPage Today story, click here.