Expert Commentary

Epidemiology of HIV infection in large urban areas in the United States

2010 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others on HIV/AIDS trends and ways to improve prevention and treatment programs.

According to recent estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than one million HIV-positive people in the United States. Deaths associated with AIDS number more than 18,000 a year, while 56,300 new HIV cases are reported annually.

While the epidemic is concentrated in urban communities, areas may be affected in different ways and thus require different treatment and prevention approaches. Based on data from 12 metropolitan areas, the 2010 study “Epidemiology of HIV Infection in Large Urban Areas in the United States” seeks to better understand HIV/AIDS trends and facilitate improved prevention and treatment programs. The study was published in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open-access online publication.

The study, from researchers at the CDC, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, finds that:

  • HIV prevalence in the metropolitan areas was between 0.3% and 1% in 2007.
  • In each metropolitan area, about 1% of blacks are HIV positive.
  • Infection rates among blacks was more than 2% in Miami, New York and Baltimore.
  • HIV prevalence was greater than 1% among Hispanics in New York and Philadelphia.
  • In 2007, more than half of HIV diagnoses in 7 of the 12 metropolitan areas were due to male-to-male sexual contact.

Because of the differing infection rates, the authors conclude that local drivers are important in the spread of HIV and suggest that prevention and treatment efforts take these into account.

Keywords: Hispanic, Latino, race, African-American, HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV positive

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