U.S. HIV cases stable at 50,000 a year

Aug. 3, 2011 at 11:17 PM
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ATLANTA, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Overall U.S. HIV incidence has been relatively stable but increases in new infections are being observed among young, black gay and bisexual men, officials say.

Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of HIV/AIDS prevention, says overall HIV incidence in the U.S. has been relatively stable, with approximately 50,000 annual new infections a year. However, new HIV infections increased 48 percent -- from 4,400 in 2006 to 6,500 in 2009 -- among young, black men who have sex with men.

"We are deeply concerned by the alarming rise in new HIV infections in young, black gay and bisexual men and the continued impact of HIV among young gay and bisexual men of all races," Mermin says in a statement. "We cannot allow the health of a new generation of gay men to be lost to a preventable disease. It's time to renew the focus on HIV among gay men and confront the homophobia and stigma that all too often accompany this disease."

The estimates, published in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE, says the incidence estimates are based on direct measurement of new HIV infections with a laboratory test that can distinguish recent from long-standing HIV infections.

"HIV infections can be prevented," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, says. "By getting tested, reducing risky behaviors, and getting treatment, people can protect themselves and their loved ones."

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