HIV infection was confirmed to be hyperendemic among men who have sex with men in many parts of the United States, particularly in the South, an analysis in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance reported.
“The data underscore just how pervasive and devastating HIV remains for gay and bisexual men across the country, not only in major urban areas like New York and Los Angeles, but also in many smaller cities and communities, especially in the southern U.S.,” Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said during a recent telebriefing. “For the first time, we can see not only the numbers, but the proportion of gay and bisexual men in the U.S. who are living with HIV in states, cities and counties.
Jonathan H. Mermin
“For example, the number of gay and bisexual men living with HIV is higher here in Atlanta than anywhere else in Georgia. But, [the] analysis shows that down the road in Augusta, where the gay community is much smaller, the HIV rate is much higher with one in four gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV.”
The analysis, conducted by Eli Samuel Rosenberg, PhD, of the department of epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and colleagues used data from the CDC and other public sources to estimate the number of MSM living with HIV in 2012 at state, city and county levels.
They determined there were six states, all in the South, where an estimated 15% of MSM had HIV. Of the 25 cities nationwide with the highest levels of MSM living with HIV, 21 were located in the South.
Other highlights of the study:
- Diagnosed HIV prevalence was 11.1% among MSM in 2012;
- The rate in 2013 of newly diagnosed HIV cases was 0.7 per 100 MSM;
- Diagnosed HIV prevalence among MSM was nearly 58 times greater than that of other men in the U.S.;
- Rates of HIV among MSM in South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi were approximately twice the national rate; and
- At least one in four MSM were diagnosed with HIV in Jackson, Mississippi; Columbia, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas; Augusta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“To stop the spread of HIV in the U.S., we have to understand how, where and among whom the epidemic is striking the hardest,” Mermin said. “[This] analysis provides an important new piece to the puzzle to help support these efforts.” – by Will Offit
Rosenberg ES, et al. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2016;doi:10.2196/publichealth.5684.
Disclosures: Two of the study authors are editors at JMIR Public Health and Surveillance. Mermin reports no relevant financial disclosures.