A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey of economically disadvantaged urban communities found a high prevalence of HIV among heterosexuals as compared with the general U.S. population, Reuters reports. As a part of the CDC’s ongoing National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) study, the federal agency honed its sights in 2010 on surveying and testing heterosexuals with low socioeconomic status living in 21 different urban areas with high AIDS case rates, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC.  The CDC published the findings in its Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report.  Those eligible to participate included men and women between the ages of 18 and 60 who had at least one partner of the opposite sex within the past year. A quarter of the study participants had never been tested for HIV until the survey.

Out of 8,473 participants, the median age was 33 years old, with 61.9 percent between 18 and 39 years old. Nearly 72 percent were black, 36.2 percent had less than a high school education and 62.5 percent reported an annual household income of less than $10,000.

A total of 197 people (2.3 percent) tested positive for HIV during the survey. The prevalence of the virus was similar between men (2.2 percent) and women (2.5 percent) and was 2.8 percent among blacks and 1.2 percent among Hispanics or Latinos. (The total U.S. prevalence rate is estimated at about 0.37 percent.) Those with less than a high school education had a 3.1 percent prevalence, compared with 1.8 percent for those with a high school diploma. Respondents with an annual household income of less than $10,000 had a 2.8 percent HIV prevalence compared with 1.2 percent for those with an income of $20,000 or more. Those who had traded sex for money or drugs in the past year had a 3.7 percent prevalence compared with 2.1 percent for those who hadn’t. Respondents who had used crack cocaine in the previous year had a 6.3 percent prevalence compared with 1.8 percent of those who did not report such drug use.

To read the Reuters article, click here.

To read the CDC report, click here.