After hearing about the dire health crises facing black women for the past few years, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of black women being infected with HIV is decreasing.
According to the CDC’s numbers from 2010, there were 47,500 people infected with the virus that year, down from 53,200. Moreover, the number of black women infected between 2008 and 2010 fell 21-percent, from 7,700 women infected to 6,100.
Despite the drop, African American’s were still contracting the disease at much higher rates than any other racial group, comprising 44-percent of all infections in 2010.
The findings from the CDC report weren’t all positive. While HIV infection rates dropped in black women, it rose in gay and bisexual men.
The report also showed that young men who have sex with men experienced a 22 percent increase in new HIV infections during the same time period (from 7,200 to 8,800). Men who have sex with men — a term used by researchers to focus on behavior and bypass issues of sexual identity — comprised about 78 percent of new HIV infections in men in 2010, and 63 percent of total new HIV infections in both men and women that year, the report said.
Young people were the most likely to be newly infected, with 31 percent of new infections occurring in people between ages 25 and 34. Twenty-six percent of new infections occurred in people between ages 13 and 24, and 24 percent of new infections occurred in people between ages 45 and 54. People ages 55 and older made up five percent of new infections.
While decreases in new infection rates among black women are a good sign, people are still contracting the disease at alarming rates. Increased testing, safer sex practices, and educating oneself about how to stay healthy are just a few steps that can prevent many from contracting this totally preventable disease.