In the United States, HIV–infected men who have sex with men are increasingly receiving the treatment they need overall, but blacks are much less likely to receive that care than whites, researchers said.
“Our analysis demonstrated increases in linkage to care and [antiretroviral (ARV)] treatment among HIV–positive [men who have sex with men (MSM)],” Brooke E. Hoots, PhD, MSPH, a CDC epidemiologist, and colleagues wrote in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
“Despite these increases, a large disparity in ARV provision between white and black MSM remains, particularly in the South, where the population density of black MSM is greater.”
Researchers analyzed data provided during interviews with MSM in 2008, 2011 and 2014 during the CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS). The project tabulates HIV–related behavior.
The researchers sought in part to compare the rates of ARV treatment among several demographics. The analysis included data from MSM in 20 cities across the U.S.
The 2008 cohort included 1,144 men, 69.2% of whom received ARV treatment. Of the 1,716 men in the 2014 group, 87.5% did so.
Among whites in 2008, 73.8% reported ARV treatment, compared with 92.1% in 2014. In the same years, respectively, 60.8% and 83.3% of blacks said they had received ARV.
The researchers initially found lower rates of ARV treatment in the South, as compared with the Northeast, Midwest and West. But that disparity was erased when they adjusted for race, because there was a greater prevalence of black MSM in the south.
In a related editorial, Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD, dean and professor of public health Yale University’s School of Medicine, addressed the means by which racial and ethnic disparities in care can be remedied.
“Innovative programs suggest that the gap may be bridged using community outreach and participation, community health workers and peers, internet-based engagement, short messaging system reminders and bridging from significant transitions into care, eg, self-disclosure of sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status; incarceration; adolescent changes; or learning of one’s own or a partner’s HIV seropositive status,” Vermund wrote. – by Joe Green
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.