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One in Ten Young MSM in Urban Areas Has HIV, Survey Says
by Jon Garbo

More than one in ten young gay and bisexual men who live in urban areas are infected with HIV, and among them African-Americans and Latinos are hit especially hard, according to a six-city study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study was presented February 5 at the Eighth Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Chicago, IL.

Thirty percent of young gay and bi African-American men are infected with HIV.
Researchers led by CDC epidemiologist Linda Valleroy, Ph.D. surveyed over 2,400 gay and bisexual men age 23 to 29 at public venues in Baltimore, MD, Dallas, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Miami, FL, New York City and Seattle, WA, between 1998 and 2000.

The study found that 30 percent of African-Americans, 15 percent of Latinos and 7 percent of Caucasians were infected with HIV. Overall, 12.3 percent of those surveyed had the virus. Of the six cities studied, participants in Seattle had the lowest overall HIV rates (4.7 percent), while those in Dallas had the highest (18 percent).

The researchers identified a high level of risky sexual behavior among participants in all cities. Overall, 46 percent reported having had unprotected anal intercourse (without a condom) in the previous six months.

Further adding to the risk of HIV transmission, only 29 percent of the HIV-positive participants were aware of their infection.

When researchers divided the participants into two age groups, they found that the rates of HIV infection increased with age. Around 10 percent of the 23- to 25-year-olds had HIV, compared to 14.2 percent of the 26- to 29-year-olds.

"These findings underscore the critical need to reach gay and bisexual men early with sustained HIV prevention efforts," the study authors concluded.

Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2001


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