HealthDay News — Few HIV tests in the southern United States are provided for black men who have sex with men (MSM) even though they account for a substantial percentage of new diagnoses, according to research published in the July 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Mariette Marano, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed CDC-funded HIV testing data for black MSM submitted by 20 health departments in the southern United States in 2016.
The researchers found that black MSM received 6 percent of the HIV tests provided but accounted for 36 percent of the new diagnoses in non-health care facilities.
Overall, 67 percent of those who received new diagnoses were linked to HIV medical care within 90 days of diagnosis, which is less than the 2020 national goal of at least 85 percent of individuals with newly diagnosed HIV infection being linked to care within 30 days.
“Black MSM in the southern United States are the group most affected by HIV, but only a small percentage of CDC tests in the southern United States are provided to this group,” the authors write. “Increasing awareness of HIV status through HIV testing, especially among black MSM in the southern United States, is essential for reducing the risk for transmission and addressing disparities.”