American Cancer Society Examines Trends in Death Rates From HIV by Race and Level of Education

A new study by the American Cancer Society examines death rates due to HIV infection by race and level of education. The use of antiretroviral drugs has had a significant impact on death rates for all racial and ethnic groups, with the largest decreases for Blacks and other minorities.

The American Cancer Society looked at 91,307 deaths resulting from HIV infection from 1993 to 2007. The data shows that the death rate for highly educated Black men dropped from 118 per 100,000 population to 15.4 per 100,000 population. For highly educated White men, the death rate dropped from 26.4 to 1.8. For Blacks who did not finish high school the death rate was 52.7 for men and 26.8 for women. Death rates for Black women with low levels of education were unchanged from 1993 to 2007.

Notably, the death rate for Black men with a low level of education was higher in 2007 than the death rate for White men with low levels of education in 1993, before many antiretroviral drugs had been invented.

The authors of the study, which has been published on the website of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded, “These findings suggest the need for focused interventions and resources to facilitate the identification of high-risk individuals, as well as entry and retention into care for those most vulnerable groups affected by the HIV epidemic in the United States.” The study can be accessed here.

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