Sexual Health news - HIV

HIV rates decline in some populations, not others

According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, overall, the rate at which people who are HIV positive die from the virus has decreased between 1993 and 2007. However, the frequency of death among black individuals is still high.

Currently, about 46 percent of the HIV population in the U.S. is comprised of blacks, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This rate has been stable since the early 1990s. The most recent data indicates that 103.9 infections occur per 100,000 black people, which is significantly greater than the second largest affected group - Hispanic/Latino.

While such an overall decline in HIV-caused deaths is a substantial improvement, public health officials need to look into why one population is not showing a similar trend.

One of the biggest contributors to the study's conclusions is the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the U.S. However, the report's investigators note that while the distribution of HAART is widespread throughout the country, there are still racial disparities when it comes to access.

Two other factors found to be significant are the education level and the socio-economic status (SES) of an HIV-positive individual. For instance, groups who attained more education and were of higher SES were more likely to have an observable decrease in deaths, compared to those who weren't as educated and were of a lower SES.

"These findings suggest the need for focused interventions and resources to facilitate the identification of high-risk individuals, as well as entry and retention into care for these most vulnerable groups affected by the HIV epidemic in the United States," concluded the study's authors.