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CDC: MSM still at increased risk for HIV diagnoses
by Matt Simonette

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If current HIV diagnoses rates continue at the same levels, one in two Black men in the United States who have sex with men ( MSM ) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, as will one in four Latino MSM in the U.S., according to researchers.

Those figures were among those released February 23 in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections ( CROI ) in Boston.

"As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, in a February 23 statement. "The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don't scale up efforts now."

Researchers analyzed death and diagnoses data from 2009-2013 in order to project risk of HIV diagnosis. Overall, the risk of HIV diagnosis in the United States is about one in 99, assuming current rates remain constant. The previous risk, compiled from 2004-2004 data, was one in 78.

But the risk is still considerably higher for MSM, especially MSM of color. At current rates, one of two Black men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will one out of four Latino MSM. One in 11 white MSM would be diagnosed with HIV as well. For MSM overall, the risk is about one in six.

The study also broke down the diagnosis projections state-by-state, with persons living in the District of Columbia at the highest risk of infection ( one in 13 ), and residents of North Dakota at the lowest ( one in 670 ). The risk in Illinois is one in 103.

"These estimates are a sobering reminder that gay and bisexual men face an unacceptably high risk for HIV—and of the urgent need for action," said Eugene McCray, M.D., director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. "If we work to ensure that every American has access to the prevention tools we know work, we can avoid the outcomes projected in this study."

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