Young Blacks 20 Times More Likely to Get HIV

Reuters, June 8, 2006

NEW YORK—Non-Hispanic blacks between 19 and 24 years of age are 20 times more likely to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, than young adults in any other racial or ethnic group in the United States, according to new estimates.

The overall HIV infection rate for young adults is 1 case per 1,000 people. However, the infection rate in this age group among blacks is 4.9 per 1,000, compared to a rate of 0.22 per 1,000 for all other races of similar age, researchers have shown.

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Although the prevalence of HIV among young adults in the United States appears to be relatively low, “racial disparity in HIV prevalence is large and established early in life,” Dr. Martina Morris, lead author of the report, told Reuters Health.

“The size of the differential was much larger than we expected, especially for this age group,” added Morris, a sociologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

However, the current results parallel racial disparities for other sexually transmitted diseases. For example, rates of gonorrhea are roughly 17 times higher among black youth and rates of syphilis are 12 times higher.

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