HIV and syphilis both affect Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) at higher rates than their white counterparts, with considerable variations seen across U.S. states.
For the first time, researchers have issued estimates—broken down by state—of the Black-to-white and Latino-to-white ratios of the prevalence rate of diagnosed HIV and the recent HIV diagnosis rate. (The prevalence rate refers to the proportion of a group that is living with diagnosed HIV.) They did the same for the recent syphilis diagnosis rate ratio between Black and white MSM.
Publishing their findings in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers relied on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AIDSVu.org’s state-level (plus Washington, DC) surveillance data on the number of MSM living with diagnosed HIV in 2015 and the number of MSM newly diagnosed with the virus in 2016. They also referenced 2016 syphilis diagnosis data among MSM as reported to the CDC.
For the estimated size of the MSM population broken down by race, the study authors updated their previously published estimates so that the data set applied to 2016.
In the nation as a whole, the Black-to-white HIV prevalence rate ratio (the proportion of Black MSM living with diagnosed HIV divided by the proportion of white MSM living with diagnosed HIV) was 3.29 and the diagnosis rate ratio was 5.87. The corresponding Latino-to-white rate ratios were 1.72 and 2.97, respectively. In all the states for which there were proper data, the HIV diagnosis rate ratio was always greater than 1.0 both for Blacks and Latinos compared with whites.
Rate ratios varied considerably between states. The Black-to-white HIV prevalence rate ratio was highest in North Dakota, at 7.14, and lowest in Hawaii, at 1.2. The Latino-to-white HIV prevalence rate ratio was highest in Vermont, at 5.17, and lowest in Hawaii, at 0.73; the only other state to have a rate ratio below 1.0 in this category was Oklahoma, at 0.97.
The Black-to-white new HIV diagnosis rate ratio was highest in Wisconsin, at 10.12, and lowest in Rhode Island, at 2.35. As for the Latino-to-white rate ratio on this point, the highest was in Pennsylvania, at 5.78, and lowest in Tennessee, at 1.5.
The Black-to-white syphilis diagnosis rate ratio was highest in Alaska, at 17.11, and lowest in Washington, DC, at 0.8; the only other state to have a rate ratio in this category that was below 1.0 was Hawaii, at 0.89.
Three of the six highest Black-to-white HIV diagnosis rate ratios were in the South. Five of the seven highest Latino-to-white rate ratios for HIV diagnoses were in the Northeast. Six of the seven states with the lowest Black-to-white syphilis diagnosis rate ratios were in the West.
To read the study abstract, click here.