HIV becoming less deadly for African Americans

Death rates of African Americans living with HIV dropped 28% between 2008 and 2012, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, black people with HIV were 1.5 times more likely to die in 2012 than white people with the virus. They were also 3.2 times more likely to die that year than Latinos with HIV, according to the study published this week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Black people in America have been hit disproportionately hard by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Although African Americans make up approximately 12% of the U.S. population, they account for 44% of new HIV infections. They also account for 43% of all Americans living with HIV and 48% of all deaths of people who had contracted the disease, the CDC says.


The reduction in mortality rates in the last few years may be the result of various projects that encourage black people to get tested and, if the test is positive, to receive long-term medical care, according to the study authors, from the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

Fifteen percent of African Americans with HIV in 2011 were unaware that they were infected, compared with 12% of whites. At the same time, 23% of black people with HIV were not getting treatment for the virus. That proportion was higher than for any other racial or ethnic group.

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