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Black teens and adults with HIV infection receive less medical care than their white counterparts while patients of both races fall short of national goals set to ensure effective, ongoing care.
In a recent study, CDC researchers analyzed data for teens and adults with HIV diagnoses reported through 2015 in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The data represent 65% of black patients living with HIV infection at the end of 2013. Among black patients diagnosed in 2014, 72% were linked with medical care within a month after their diagnosis. Among white patients, the figure was 79%. About 22% of black and white patients diagnosed that year had a CD4 cell count less than 200/µL.
News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Section Editor: Rebecca Voelker, MSJ.
The investigators also described how patients diagnosed in 2012 had fared by the end of 2013. About 68% of black patients had received any HIV care compared with 74% of white patients. Some 54% of black patients were still in ongoing HIV care at the end of 2013 compared with 58% of white patients. In addition, 49% of black individuals reached viral suppression—less than 200 virus copies per milliliter of blood—compared with 62% of white patients.
Among black patients, those whose infections were related to injection drug use and males with HIV attributed to heterosexual contact were the least likely to receive medical care or achieve viral suppression. Linkage to care and viral suppression were lower among black patients younger than 35 years than among those aged 35 years or older.
Figures reported in the study place black and white patients well below some of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goals for 2020: linking 85% of newly diagnosed patients with care, having ongoing care for 90% of patients with HIV, and suppressing viral load among 80% of patients.