October 15, 2012
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New HIV infection rate 2.8 times higher in Hispanics and Latinos

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Monday marks National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, an effort to increase awareness on the significant impact that HIV/AIDS has had on the Hispanic and Latino population in the United States.

In Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC said that in 2010, Hispanics and Latinos had an annual rate of new HIV infections that was 2.8 times the rate among non-Hispanic whites. The researchers conducted an analysis on the geographic distribution of these diagnoses in 46 states and Puerto Rico.

They found that an estimated 10,731 newly-diagnosed HIV infections occurred in Hispanics and Latinos in 46 states (89.6%) and Puerto Rico (10.4%) in 2010. Among those who lived in the 46 states, 35.4% lived in the South, 32.1% lived in the West, 26.3% lived in the Northeast and 6.2% lived in the Midwest.

New infections with most common in people aged 25 to 34 years. Of the people with new infection, 83.2% were male, 63.4% were men who had sex with men and 86.4% lived in urban areas. In the 46 states, 66.5% of infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, whereas in Puerto Rico 36.1% were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. In Puerto Rico, more infections were attributed to heterosexual contact (40.7% vs. 22%) and injection drug use (20.4% vs. 8.6%) than in the 46 states.

The overall rate of new HIV infections among Hispanics and Latinos in the 46 states was 27.6 per 100,000 persons. The rate in the Northeast was 55.0 per 100,000 persons, more than twice the overall rate. In 2009, the overall prevalence rate of HIV infection among Hispanics and Latinos was 432.3 per 100,000 persons. In the northeast, the prevalence rate was 1,252.6 per 100,000 persons.

“The findings in this report suggest that HIV intervention efforts should be tailored to the characteristics and needs of the Hispanic or Latino population in different geographic areas,” the CDC researchers wrote. “Regionally, specific HIV prevention efforts should be used to increase early diagnosis and linkage to care for Hispanics or Latinos. CDC’s high-impact prevention approach…could be used in high-risk Hispanic or Latino populations, particularly injection-drug users in the Northeast and Puerto Rico, persons in rural areas and recent immigrants to the South."

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.