New Study Shows Racial Health Gap in HIV Cases Remains Wide

A new study led by Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor at the University of Connecticut and CEO of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, finds that despite recent drops in HIV diagnoses across every population in the U.S., there are still great disparities between ethnic groups. African-Americans are still much more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than White Americans.

The study, a follow-up on a paper published a decade ago, found that for male and female populations in 2016, Blacks were 8.4 times more likely than Whites to be diagnosed with HIV, whereas in 2005 they were 7.9 times more likely. Specifically, the number of Black males diagnosed with the disease in 2005 was 9,969, and increased by 29 percent to 12,890 in 2016.

“It is clear that much more needs to be done to address the fact that African-Americans continue to be overrepresented across all categories of transmission,” says Dr. Laurencin. “While higher rates of poverty and prevalence of negative socio-economic determinants in the African-American community are important underlying factors, we believe that a concerted, re-dedicated effort – as seen with other national health emergencies, such as the opioid crisis – can create meaningful change in the decade to come.”

Dr. Laurencin is a graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in chemical engineering. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Medical School and holds a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering and biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The study, “HIV/AIDS and the African-American Community 2018: A Decade Call to Action,” was published on the website of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. It may be accessed here.

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