HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects Latinos, Hispanics, CDC says
Hispanics or Latinos living in the United States are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, accounting for 18% of the overall population and 24% of all new HIV diagnoses, according to the CDC.
To coincide with National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day, which is observed each year on Oct. 15, the CDC published new data on the progress toward the national goals for Hispanic or Latino patients with HIV of 85% linkage to care, 90% retention in care and 80% viral load suppression by 2020.
“Improving health outcomes for Hispanics or Latinos living with HIV infection is necessary to reduce HIV transmission in the United States,” Zanetta Gant, PhD, epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, and colleagues wrote in MMWR. “Prompt linkage to care after diagnosis allows early initiation of HIV treatment, which is associated with reduced morbidity, mortality, and transmission of HIV infection.”
Gant and colleagues summarized data from 38 U.S. jurisdictions that reported complete CD4 and viral load data to the CDC’s National HIV Surveillance System. According to the report, the estimated 235,600 Hispanics or Latinos living with HIV infection in the United States have lower levels of care and viral suppression than non-Hispanic whites and are three times as likely to be diagnosed with HIV. They have higher levels of care and viral suppression than those reported among blacks or African-Americans.
In 2015, 75.4% of Hispanics or Latinos with a diagnosed HIV infection were linked to care within 1 month, according to the report. At the end of 2014, 70.2% received care, 58.3% were retained in care and 58.2% were virally suppressed, the data showed.
Linkage to care appeared similar among males and females, and retention in care was similar among age groups; however, males had lower levels of viral suppression. Data showed that the lowest levels of care and viral suppression were among males whose infections were linked to injection drug use, and the highest were among heterosexual females.
In an unusual and unexplained finding, Gant and colleagues said patients aged 13 to 24 years had the highest retention in care among all age groups at 60.5%, but the lowest viral suppression — just 54.6%.
“Hispanics or Latinos with HIV infection might not seek, receive, or adhere to HIV care or treatment regimens for various reasons, including lack of health insurance, language barriers, and migration patterns,” they wrote. “HIV programs that focus on care and treatment for Hispanics or Latinos might consider strengthening efforts to link to and retain in care persons with HIV infection and to promote adherence to medication to achieve optimal health outcomes.” – by Gerard Gallagher
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.