CDC: African-American women most at risk of HIV/AIDS

A new report released by the Center for Disease Control on Thursday found that black women are at the highest risk of HIV/AIDS of any Americans.

Despite an overall decline in the number of women diagnosed, African-Americans represented 61 percent of diagnoses among women in 2015. The annual amount of black women diagnosed with HIV (26.2 per 100,000) is roughly 16 times more than that of white women.

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One factor that contributes to the disparity is that African-Americans have lower levels of care and viral suppression than other racial and ethnic groups, according to data collected by the National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS).

Two new CDC reports were released Thursday in an effort to raise awareness coordinated with this year's National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day -- February 7.

While the disparities in diagnosis between African-American women and women of other races/ethnicities are high, one CDC analysis does show that it is shrinking.

"The findings show that the difference in HIV diagnosis rates between African-American women and white women (the group with the lowest rates) decreased by almost 25 percent from 2010 to 2014. There have also been substantial declines in recent years in diagnoses among African-Americans overall," CDC Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Eugene McCray, said in a statement.

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The CDC warned in a separate report that "urgent improvements are needed" to meet the 2020 goals set by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). One goal specifically addresses the number of African-Americans receiving the care and treatment needed to keep their virus under control and prevent transmission of HIV.

As of the end of 2013, 53.5 percent of African-Americans living with HIV were receiving care and 48.5 percent had achieved viral suppression. The NHAS goal is set for "90 percent of people with diagnosed HIV to be retained in care and 80 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV to have an undetectable viral load."

The CDC intends to implement prevention strategies that are "culturally-targeted" to close that gap.